As I love pinterest and as I call myself the google queen (because I find whatever it is you are searching for), I have recently come across many dolls and lovely art pieces, I just adore. I am a huge fan of "Frida Kahlo" and love her art and now I came across this wonderful artist "Cara Carmina", a mexican artist from Canada, who makes all these lovely dolls representing "Frida Kahlo" by hand. So each one is an individual art piece and one-of-a-kind. She sews the hair streaks and face with a sewing machine. She also prints these wonderful leggings for kids and grown-ups and makes dresses as well and her illustrations are just so cute as well. Her dolls sell out after a couple of hours only, so you have to be quick to catch one. She will be making new ones just in time for Christmas. Make sure you check out her homepage, follow her on her Facebook page and etsy shop.
Additionaly I also already started looking for presents for Christmas for the kids and came across these wonderful dolls by "Mizy,Me", which are also handmade. They are so adorable, but the kids will have to wait for them until Easter.
Moreover one of my worst habits is buying books for my kids. I could open my own book shop with the books we already own. Some of Zoë´s favorite books are (sorry for the German titles, but the translation of the title is right underneath the pictures with a description of the book):
"The Happy Lion" by Louise Fatio & Roger Duvoisin
Everyone loves the lion at the zoo, the people from the town come by everyday and greet and feed him. One day the door of his cage is left open, so he decides to go visit everyone in the town and return the favor. But this does not turn out as expected. The whole town is in fear of the lion and runs away from him. Except for one special person. This book is about friendship and it warms our hearts every time we read it.
"Sam Who Went To Sea" by Phyllis Root and Axel Scheffler
Sam is a little rat, who has the dream of going to the sea. He does everything to pursue his dream, although his neighbors try to convince him, that there are more important things in life than going to the sea. But Sam is persistent until he follows his heart and his dream becomes reality. The book is written very lyrically and has been illustrated by Axel Scheffler, who also illustrated "The Gruffalo", which we can also deeply recommend.
"Sam and Dave Dig a Hole" by Mac Barnett
Yes, another Sam. Sam and Dave dig a hole in order to find something special. They dig deeper and deeper and further and further in order to find this one spectacular thing. They make decisions on where to dig next, not realizing that they almost found a treasure. The illustrations show the reader that they are always so close of finding their treasure, but miss out, due to the fact that they are heading in another direction. Funny wise the dog gets to find the treasure and all of them suddenly fall down, further and further until they land in a place that looks like home, but is it home? Zoë and I started discussing where they could be now, if it is really their home and we make up great stories of how this story could end.
We have many other books, that I would have loved to show you, but apparently they have not yet been translated in english. Just write me a message, in case you want some more German tips. I would also like to recommend you my friend´s blog about lovely illustrated and just special German books:" Miss Mimzy"
And last but not least, our door has to be remodeled, so we got an awful looking white door and would have to look at it for months, so I decided to change it into something cute for Zoë´s birthday but forgot to post about it. Please meet Aaron the Dragon from Helsinki. The shop is called "Made of Sundays" and they have so many lovely wall and door decals, If we had plain doors for the kid´s rooms, I would definitely get some more! Alba is also super nice and when she sends out the box with your decal, she writes really cute messages on them too.
So, please enjoy reading, One more thing, please watch this great choreography!
Don´t get me wrong, I love my life. I enjoy every bit of it, even when situations bring me to tears, I have lots of joy. Most joy because of my family, but there are also those little things, that bring you joy.
In terms of work, it always makes me happy, if a band that I had discovered, found its audience. Lately „Sea + Air“ have started their campaign about the release of their new album. I have worked with them, since the band was still called „Daniel Benjamin“ and later became „Sea + Air“. They started out as a solo project and became what they truly were in the first place: a lovely couple in real life and on stage.
Sea + Air are the German Daniel Benjamin and his Greek wife Eleni, who started making music together in the band „Jumbo Jet“ when they were still teenagers. They are both multi-instrumentalists, who play different instruments at the same time on stage. Their music can be described as pop with a Krautrock influence. Both have a very special timbre, Daniel has a huge range and Eleni sometimes sounds like Florence from "Florence and the Machine" or like "Marina and the Diamonds". They are not easily put into a category, their music can be soft and sometimes rough and at times even both at once.
Moreover they state that their music is inspired by the melodic beauty of the baroque music by „Johann Sebastian Bach“ or the „architonic soundscape of The Scorpions“ and underline this by using a harpsichord on the record and on stage. But you will have to listen for yourselves.
In the past they have supported bands like the "White Stripes", "Flaming Lips", "The Soundtrack Of Our Lives", "The Devine Comedy" or even "Whitney Houston" and have started building their fanbase because of this. But also because of playing hundreds of gigs in front of small audiences. For almost 3 years, they had played any given opportunity, on weddings, in living rooms, on city festivals, supporting other artists, paid, unpaid, whatsoever. They cared about live experience and building a solid fanbase, one by one. And it eventually started paying off. The venues had gotten bigger and bigger and are still growing.
Recently being a couple with German and Greek roots, resulted into an article at the German newspaper „Die Welt“, which all of you German speaking people will understand, to the others out there, I hope google translate will help you here.
My work as a manager for them resulted in several support slots, like the one for Whitney Houston, or helping them to find themselves on and behind stage, guiding them by asking the right questions or answering to theirs. I put them together with the photographer „Tim Dobrovolny“ who also helped them finding their appearance. Every little step brought them closer to what they were in the first place, but sometimes it is hard for an artist to actually see, which potential lies within him, or what his true identity is for the outside. Probably just because they are just too close to everything and cannot step aside in order to look at themselves from another perspective. But I think this applies to everyone in their own special way. It makes me proud to see that artists, who have consulted me for advise, develop a career and stay friends all along this bumpy road of this music business.
Their new album „Evropi“ will be released on the 21st of August 2015 in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and on the 4th of September in the rest of Europe via Glitterhouse.
Please find a video from their last album and their new album below.
and from their new album
I have to add this video to my last post! It does fit somehow and somehow it doesn't. I am not quite sure either if I like the song at all, but what is for sure, is that the radio plays will be massive, if summer will come back. Petite Meller is a french singer, who reminds me of a Barbie doll by her looks, why it does somehow fit to my previous post. Also her song does somehow remind me of "Barbie Girl", as the melody is indeed very hooky and a great summer tune. Although the lyrics do not go well with a summer tune, I guess. Anyways, enjoy listening to this track.
My original plan was to release a new blog post at least every week, yeah, like that worked.
I just have to explain myself first though. I am more of a perfectionist, than I am willing to admit. But when you have two kids, life becomes unexpected and you just have to bow out on perfection.
I thought this would bother me, but to be quite honest, it is probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I am happy with little things I achieve, I do not take everything as serious anymore and I definitely became more efficient.
So, please do not expect any regularity on postings, sometimes I will manage to post once a week, maybe once a month, or every day.
Many things have happened recently, I had a contest on designcrowd for the design of my logo - hope you like it as much as I do, and I have been on a short trip to Julianadorp in the Netherlands with my family. We stayed at a house directly at the beach, so we had our feet in the sand all day long!
It was lovely. And our daughter made many new friends, as we were surrounded by a lot of families in the other houses. They played on the beach all day.
You would imagine, your kid becomes tired with this beautiful weather, sand everywhere and playing with kids all day. But our big girl decided vacation was all about being awake. So she went to bed at 11 pm. and got up at 6 am. You can probably imagine how happy we were about not having the possibility of watching one of our favorite tv series or just the wonderful sunset. Bummer.
Still, I would always go there again! So my recommendation clearly goes out to Landal Beach Resorts in Julianadorp aan Zee.
Because of the weather at the north sea, mostly being very windy and sometimes rainy, I thought it would be a great idea of having a rain jacket or windbreaker of some sort. I do however carry our little boy in a sling most of the times and so I searched for a jacket, that gave me the possibility of still carrying our baby and having him and me covered.
So, I found this perfect jacket:
It is the outdoor all weather jacket rain from Mamalila, a brand, that designs jackets especially for carrying your child in a sling. Although it is quite expensive, it was great for the beach life. I did not feel the wind nor did I get wet, when it poured cats and dogs.
I just came across Jack Garratt, love his timbre and energy!
Next to music, my biggest passion is my kids. I am sure everyone can say that about their kids, but mine really are the most important things in my life! They bring me constant joy and occasionally worries, but in the end, I wouldn’t want to miss one single second.
My big girl is turning three this year and my son is just 3 months old. I think that´s the perfect age difference between them and hope they´ll able to really interact more and play with one another soon.
When I am asked, what it's like with two kids, my standard answer is: "it is challenging."
It really is challenging and I keep asking myself, why when I was a first time mom, did I feel exactly the same way?
First time mom
When I became a mother for the first time, my whole life changed. Before motherhood, my life was all about work - staying up late, sleeping in on the weekends if I did not have to work, etc. and then life changed A LOT! Today I rarely watch an episode of my favorite tv shows from the end to beginning - I tend to fall asleep after 5-10 minutes tops.
Flashback to three years ago... My life was all about: "when will I shower or will I even get to shower?"; "will I be able to have breakfast/lunch/dinner?"; "when can I get my make up done and will I ever look like a normal person again without food or baby spit-up/vomit stains?"
Let´s just say that after a while I got so relaxed about it, that I no longer cared what others thought, all I cared about was that the baby and I were happy.
In all honesty I was worried about a lot of things in the beginning. Having no experience with kids, I held a baby once, never changed a diaper, and never had to calm a baby down. I was simply inexperienced and insecure. Fortunately, I learned that a baby tells you exactly what it needs and when. And even if you are a bit overwhelmed at times (positively and negatively), you instinctually know how to handle the situation and your baby will be grateful for your love, care, and attention; so it will forgive your minor mistakes. What makes this period even more special, is that you grow with your child and with each experience and life challenge, you are both facing it together.
What to get and what not to
I think most parents get (buy, are gifted, or just acquire) too much stuff for their newborns. We probably did too. Most important of course, is clothing. Summer basics should consist of 6 long sleeved bodies, 4 short sleeved bodies, 1-2 light cardigans of some sort and a light pullover, 2-3 pairs of leggings or light pants, 2 pairs of leggings with feet, 3 pairs of socks, 1 pair of wool socks, 1 blanket, 2 pairs of rompers and 1 sleeping bag. Just bear in mind, that even though it´s Summer, it´s better to get clothing that you can layer, as it might get cold and babies need a little more warmth.
Another important “first” is a baby sling or stroller, though I would not recommend using a BabyBjörn or Manduca before the baby has reached 6 months of age.
Also worth considering is adequate diaper or clothing changing space and maybe a crib that you can attach right to your bed. The latter can be useful during the night to bring your baby into your bed for feeding, care and comfort with the benefits of sleeping close to the baby, but without the worries associated with co-sleeping.
For the moments in between feedings I would recommend getting a baby quilt, so you can have your baby lie next to you wherever you are. Having a music box is a plus and can be put on your belly during your pregnancy so the baby recognizes and can find comfort or joy in the melody later.
Other than the abovementioned items, your baby really doesn´t need much, except maybe a rattle or one of those wonderful “grip and play” Oballs by Rhino toys.
Mom of two children - new challenges
All of a sudden you can be confronted with funny or surreal situations such as both kids screaming, whining or crying at the same time, and these moments will make you want to bump your head against the wall.
If you are lucky, your firstborn child is in the middle of his/her defiance or rebellious phase. This will present you with the challenge of coping with an exaggeration of its kind. Our big girl´s defiance phase has grown exponentially since the little guy was born! In a flash you have a screaming and crying child next to you, who is overwhelmed by its own feelings and trying to understand what is going on. At least in this regard, our daughter is coping fine. Some days it is easier for me to stay calm than others, but at the end, it is a phase that will be over at some point. Right?!
When you have one child you have to establish some sort of schedule to give the child some consistency; this supports you in building up their self-esteem, and gives them the security of a reoccurring somewhat predictable, daily routine. This meant my husband and I making a conscious effort to have breakfast, lunch and dinner at almost the same time and trying to stay on the same schedule for activities, groceries or the like. We were never strict about it though, and let our princess decide for herself when she had to lie down for a nap or when she wanted to go to bed. We took her everywhere with us and she was fine with it.
But with two kids everything changes. The importance of a routine has become even more important than ever. Because if we don’t stick to it on a daily basis, the older child is at risk of being late for kindergarten.
I don´t know how others manage it, but I struggle in the mornings, getting the two of them, plus myself ready. Having one child means having a child that will also easily adapt to your schedule. Having two children basically means, you have to adjust your schedule to the children and be very strict about the routine. Sticking to this is good for the bigger child´s self esteem and sense of structure. Thankfully for us, we still manage to take both of them everywhere we go, whether it´s out to dinner, concerts or theater plays.
We were aware of the possibility that our daughter could feel dethroned by the new child, since our attention and focus would no longer be solely on her and that she might try to act out or misbehave to get it back. Within our circle of friends we have learned that sometimes this comes with the kind of behavior NO parent would approve of. And in such cases, one should be thankful if your child does not direct its rage and grief against the newborn.
Thankfully our big girl did not and seems to enjoy having another little person in the house.
I guess what I want to say is….it´s ok to feel overwhelmed and it is ok to feel overpowered; this is something I have to constantly remind myself. But every day, I am overjoyed to have two of the most wonderful human beings (besides my husband) around me everyday.
The next song has been around for quite some time now, but somehow it just fits here perfectly.
Why did I choose the name LALACHOUCHOU? It is quite simple, lala stands for music, for singing, my kid used to tell me to turn on the lala and my mom says I did the exact same thing, so it was a logic consequence. And chouchou means sweetheart or darling and music has always been my life, so it just fit.
As I mentioned before, I grew up in the music business. My parents founded their concert agency about 35 years ago and so I was always around music, surrounded by music, went on tour with my parents and several artists and got to learn the language of music.
Music nurtures most of us, helps us cope with bad times, helps us underline the good ones, tells us stories and gives us advise, it can annoy us, but in general we cannot live without it. To me it is not only an inspiration, it is also my passion and it is my skill. I call myself a truffle pig, because I claim to be able to differentiate between a good song, that has a hit potential or at least radio play potential, or is just a great song and on the other hand, a song that does not have a lot of potential. I am saying this quite carefully, as music is art and art always has its audience, sometimes you just personally do not get some of the pieces. You cannot ask yourself to understand everything though!
I have met many great artists during my life, some of them are still on stage, some are retired and some have been gone too early. Some of them have become friends, most of them have become lifetime companions, we have shared many laughs and most of the very well-known artists are more down-to-earth than some newcomer artists nowadays.
When I was born the band Tokyo played a concert for my birthday, when I turned 13 Luciano Pavarotti sang a birthday song to me in Paris. Those were very special moments, although I do not even quite remember the first one. I was lucky to make many great experiences like this. Being on tour and hanging out backstage with the artists and crew was mostly fun and the time between the get in/ set up for the show and the actual start of the concert was filled with table tennis, soundcheck and always with games for me.
I have to say that these times have been different though, some things have not been as professional as they are nowadays, because they were optimized through the technical evolvement, like ticketing for example. Remember how easy it was to duplicate tickets and I remember my parents talking about how many tickets must have been duplicated for shows as too many people were in the venues. There have been many ideas on the way to stop the black market and one was through special tickets. I remember this fan ticket that was an actual cd, which you could play. It was a Genesis tour. (You can find a picture here: http://soenner.com/images/music/genesis_calling_all_stations_shape_cd.jpg)
I am glad that the ticketing companies have finally found a way - or realized that they had to find a way - to print fan tickets again with the artwork of the artists, as it saddened me to think fans would not be able to keep their ticket as a memory anymore the same as they used to. Tickets used to be a piece of artwork, they used to be designed in order to fit the artwork of the poster or the tour theme itself, sometimes being an addition to the poster. Needless to say, I am happy they are going back to the roots in some sort of way.
The black market however has not been stopped yet, not all tickets are forgery-proof and secondary ticket market has become a big subject to the industry. There are companies buying tickets at a regular price and selling them for a fortune! Although this is not good for either the audience, nor the promoter/ artist or anyone actually involved in the show, companies who speculate with tickets have become quite popular. The only way to gain control again would be to avoid buying tickets from them. But I might get into detail about this at a later post.
So, as I said, I call myself a truffle pig. A talent scout. Someone who finds new music that might become a hit tomorrow or just has something special to it. If I look into music, I am always looking for something that captures me. It may be the voice, the special timbre, the special sounds used in the production, the mixture of genres, the song itself or a combination of everything. It just has to kick me in some kind of way, it has to give me goosebumps, bring me to tears or just set off my emotions. Another song I just recently found who does exactly this, is this one. So please enjoy!
When I write or talk about music, I always say that I would rather let the music speak for itself. I have been a talent scout for 20 years and managing artists for roughly ten. My roster has changed a bit over the years, but I once had a journalist and radio promoter tell me that he liked my style - that any band I picked had something special about it - even though they differed a lot from each other. And I said to myself, he gets me.
When I presented the music of my artists to labels, publishers or the like, or artists I curated for the concert agency, I would just take the music in with me and only get into the details, after the melody set the tone and emotions free among the others in the room.
But as I said before, Music is Art. Not everyone gets the piece or sometimes a person is just not as quick as you might be. Sometimes you might be ahead of the curve with the music you produce or you like. Taste isn´t confined to any given time frame, and eventually good music will find its listeners! But often it means a lot of hard work and challenges.
I have worked with extremely talented and gifted artists who have yet to achieve mainstream recognition, but had special something about them, that would have enabled them to build up a solid fan base. But somewhere on the journey, they either lost faith in themselves or did not have patience and persistence to stay focused through these hard and sometimes tough steps or difficult times.
When looking at it that way, we come full circle to the way things used to be. Bands need to play and play and play. And in the beginning, it doesn´t matter if it´s in front of 2, 5, 10 or 15 people.
Sometimes they have to pay to play (which I do NOT approve of) and in general, invest a lot into their career just in order to start off with something. They need to have staying power and longevity. They need to be patient. And they should never lose faith in themselves or their music.
Yes, easier said than done, but the reality is, so many people are able to produce music nowadays that there are many more great musicians out there. That said, many of these people who think they are great musicians, are just as hungry and driven and determined to distinguish themselves. So, the competition can be fierce.
This seems to be the issue in some areas of the music industry and has become quite common among the newbies. But in order to put on a good show, what goes on ON the stage, is just as important as what goes on BEHIND it. Everyone who makes up that tour has to be appreciated and not taken for granted. If the cleaning woman does a good job, along with the rigger, and the caterer, then the crew, not to mention, the artist, is happy.
I think everyone has their part to play and should be recognized for their job and constantly appreciated!! So please, everybody, clean up your mess in the catering area and don´t wait for someone else to do it.
On a slightly different note, one of the artists I worked with and that I really still enjoy listening to, is Roman. Unfortunately he never got the attention he deserved, but luckily for you, there is a band that sounds a lot like him – probably just a little more mainstream and called Bastille.
But here´s Roman, so take a listen for yourselves:
Trufflepig. Talentscout. Music Advisor. Booking Agent. Singer. Mother of Two. Wife. Artist. Trendsetter. Muse. Fashion Addict. Starry-eyed idealist. Hobby Psychologist. World Traveller.