I'm Julia Allen, a designer in Napa,
California. This blog is my place for
gathering and sharing inspiration.
It's also where I can share ideas and
processes for my design work.
(and sometimes, you might just see
a posting for the rant, of just because
a moment needed to be shared.)
Please feel free to say hello &
share your tendencies at
Replied my Aunt Mary in a text when I asked what she and family would like to drink with their fancy meats I plan on shipping ahead of me in September. One forgets, that the rest of the world does not care if your steak goes with a Zinfandel, Petite Syrah or an outlandish Cabernet Sauvignon. A good ol' Miller Light will do just fine. (Gulp! the fancy beer lover in me will have to suffice).
The irony in all of this is... I do beer too. Unless I am showing a friend around town, in Napa Valley.. I don't drink much wine either. It's usually a Lagunitas... Little Sumpin' or their IPA, a Pliny, maybe even a Smithwick's or Guinness. Or... a Gin & Tonic. Always, a go to. Hence, when I got that reply... I laughed my ass off.
The last few months have been so amazingly unbelievable. What started as an innocent querry into my paternal lineage... to see the relative who actually immigrated from Ireland... opened doors I didn't realize I would open. Seeing some of my family members in Chicago early June, after 30 years hiatus, was a blessing. Of course, to hear the stories... even more fantastic! And then there's Facebook. I hit the motherload (or fatherload) with tapping on a few old cousin's shoulders by friending them. And it has certainly been a joy ride! What soon came to be discovered were the names and people, who I now know as my half sisters. I've started the beautiful journey of getting to know one of them, and hope the same can happen with my other half sister. Photos and stories keep flowing. What happened in the past, will stay in the past for me... but what I fully embrace today is that I have two half siblings, where I thought I had no more. Half siblings with whom I can share this life with... and, share them with those dear to me. That is all that matters.
A few pics... now I have a peek into what my son might look like. He's a dead ringer for my father (he passed away in 1974), aside for the fat lip Liam received while playing too hard, my mouth dropped open the moment I saw this young picture of my father. Uncanny, even down to the cow lick!! Funny how your DNA skips down. And it's official. I've been told I have Roger's nose, forehead and freckles (and, it seems an appreciation for beer.)
There are some days that I am caught off guard. Semblances of you pop up and I do a double take. Perhaps it's just me, catching these glimpses of you in others, but if not… maybe there are those from our past that will say, "Absolutely, I see John!" Or if the resemblance is too great, we stare awkwardly long, knowing that our gaze reveals disbelief and yearning at the same time.
There is a sense of amusement, in seeing these likenesses of you in TV/Hollywood personalities: Bruce Lee (in your really youthful days, the martial arts too), Joseph-Gordon-Levitt (definitely your 20s), and Nik Watt, a London-based correspondent for ABC News (in your later years… uncanny!)
But there was that one… in Enniskillen, Ireland. I could not help but stare. It was you, but not you, or a vision from somewhere in the ethers. The receding hair line, ears, neck, nose, jawline and shoulders… even the way he sat eating his dinner. Alone, he sat for two hours, well past his dinner, drinking whiskey and undoubtedly, listening to the musings my friend Lori and I shared over our plates. Shadows in a strange place, a restaurant named "Franco's" which hinted at Italian food fare, but instead plates of mediocrities—Asian spring rolls, a Califonia-style pizza and other non-Italian entrees laid before us, none that were Irish either. It didn't help that a few hours before, by chance, I passengered a boat named MV Kestrel, where the captain and I talked about the heartaches of suicide—"a dilemma in the Irish youth" he said ("just Irish?" in my mind). With a lump in my throat, he pointed us to the bar where we met Franco's owner, a regular it seems at this bar. After a few pints, he dares us with "can you afford to come dine with us?", knowing that we were hosteling a tour with kids half our age. We did, and I saw the likeness of you. You have to connect the dots… at least I do. Hands down, I sat next to your doppelgänger in Enniskillen, Ireland, where I road a boat named MV Kestrel down the River Erne and it felt so bittersweet.
Happy Birthday John. It will always be happy birthday to us. And to all those who knew him… dust off those memories of him. Laugh, cry or choke back the tears. For as long as we think and speak of him, he's just sitting right over there.
But it seems that I've become known as the bird girl. Friends have been sharing with me images, photos and art of winged creatures, in which I come to their minds for the association. For what it's worth, it makes me smile, feel humble and grateful. Birds also make me think of my brother John. I'll list the images of the gig posters as well as photos, artwork which I am so touched, that others have come to think of me. With kindred spirits, I will take their sentiments to heart. The last image... of course is me with one of my birds, a kestrel in flight. And now you know why the birds in my anniversary image in the previous post.
Asam S. Doyle, Dan Grzeca, Edgar Allan Poe, gig posters, Glen Hansard Rhythm and Repose, http://featheredphotography.com, Jason Munn, julia allen, kestrel, kestrel, Murmuration, Ron Dudley, Shannon River, Snow Patrol Fallen Empires, sparrow hawk, StatusSerigraph, The Raven, Walter Crow
Whatever you can do or dream you can, Begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it, Begin it now. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
It’s our decade celebration! Folia Design is 10 years old! Initially a playful conversation one Summer night in Chicago, the dream became a reality just a few months later in October 2002!
It’s time to acknowledge and thank all those who have been a part in helping Folia Design become a real force in Napa’s creative design movement. It’s been an incredible journey – witnessing Napa’s explosive emergence as a hot spot for tourism, business, hospitality, nonprofit organizations, and of course, the wine industry. But even more amazing, knowing that Julia Allen (me) + Folia Design had a hand in forging some of that visible design mojo through intelligent + kickass design. (Yeah, I said that!)
To those who have met me on my path and walked with me on this amazing journey, THANK YOU for your amazing support! Let's see where this crazy, awesome path takes us!
Last May, 2012, I took my first trip abroad. Passport ready, renewed for the last 3 decades, and finally stamped... in Ireland. It was a personal journey for me, to look into my paternal past, and to see my connection to the Irish culture not shared with me as a young child, just the Korean side. My father was Irish-American, roots solid here, but from what I can tell, a few generations away from "the one" who traveled across the big blue pond.
All I can say right now is that it was a monumental trip. More than I can ever have imagined. Fun as heck. Lots of laughter, music, Guinness, whiskey, and tears of every kind.
book came along at a critical time for me. I planned a trip to Ireland,
my paternal roots, as part of my 40th birthday gift to myself, in search
of learning more about half of my genetic make-up and Irish culture
from the source. Though I had done some initial ancestry research, it
was not enough to go and dig up more info in Ireland, nor did I really
want to in my first trip. It was more about "feeling my way" through
her. I'm glad I did. This book allowed me to use my heart as a compass.
Frank MacEowen provided me with an appreciation and understanding of the
archetypal and Celtic spirituality via each of the five sacred
directions; the Center (our center, where we find balance), East
(prosperity), South (inspiration), West (knowledge) and North (battle).
has permanently altered both how I see the world around me and how I
view myself, with and without an Irish filter. It has opened my mind to
the simultaneous multiplicity and unity of all things. It could just as
easily have been called, The Celtic Way of BEING.
This morning, I received a lovely email from the author himself. Imagine my surprise! You can read it below. But, if by chance he stumbles on this blog.... I'll end with... Thank you Frank for putting pen to paper, your thoughts on our connection to Ireland or at least how we might learn from her spirit. For me... your book is highly regarded. A beautiful book. Timely when it was read. And
still, mapping along the way with me.
In a round about way... I feel indebted to Julia... that is Julia Child.
Yes, my childhood was filled with many episodes watching her beat eggs, throw flour and a generous helping of red wine into her yummy creations. Who didn't in the 70s and 80s? (PBS ruled!) But, if it wasn't for her life's work, of inspiring so many others in the word of gastronomy... particularly in this region I call home —Napa Valley... a place called COPIA wouldn't have come to life and become a world-class center for Wine, Food and Arts... (not to mention the only place that allowed for Julia's name to be used for the restaurant that once graced it, "Julia's Kitchen" (boy, do I miss that place!).
COPIA is now closed. It's amazing people dispersed—here in Napa and throughout the country. Social Media has made it possible to remain in contact with several... but, I digress. The point of this post is to say THANK YOU to Julia Child. For if it wasn't COPIA (and you) that brought me and my family here... I wouldn't be the chef (designer) of my world... FOLIA DESIGN.
Julia... Happy Birthday and Thank You... from Julia.
Yesterday was our 40th and our first birthday apart.
A deep calling and need for soiltude and I found it walking Grace Cathedral's Labrynth in San Francisco. Entering its meandering path was met with emotional sadness, to go back into the memories of loss and separation. The center felt timeless where I paused, for a long while. Then, my first step, of coming out of it, much like my entry into this world—first born, but without John. Ironic to think that he was born all black and blue, from me kicking my way out. Foretelling? I wonder. I paused more, along the way... realizing it is time to move forward into this different being, me and as one. I am me, yet will always be a part of him.
Today, again in solitude, I heard the cry of a hawk. Not a kestrel, but above, in the skies over me were a pair of red tails circling and crying out: "Happy Birthday Julia". Thank you John... for being my twin brother, and celebrating this life with me. I'll always love you. See you on the other side one day.