I had an amazing time in Los Feliz with Michele, Ali, and baby Lou. I have known Ali since he was about 6 years old. Years later, he is happily married to the beautiful and inspiring,Michele (please take note of Michele’s beauty regime below, she has the most flawless skin I have ever seen). During our visit, I got to meet baby Lou for the first time and she is just the most adorable baby girl. I am lucky to be called her, Auntie. She puts a smile on my face every time I think of her and her wonderful parents who I adore. I look forward to many more visits.
1. What’s in your purse that you absolutely can’t leave your house without?
Michele: Hylands Homeopathic Teething Tablets, Cell Salts, and Rosewater Spray. Curly Monkey handmade organic wipes for the baby. I never use baby wipes on my daughter because they all have chemicals in them, just those with water.
2. Favorite keepsake given to you by a family member?
Michele: My Pop Pop’s black hat with his name stamped in it by the milliner. My Dad gave Louisiana a piece of art by Karel Appel of the COBRA movement. It hangs by our bed and every morning she laughs and smiles to it’s vibrant colors.
Ali: I have a cool drawing my sister did of Beethoven that she gave me for my birthday a while ago.
3. Here at home or on an adventure, do you have a memory of an amazing deal you’ve gotten?
Michele: A handsome mid century chair at St. Vincent’s for a buck fifty. I got it reupholstered and it’s the star of the room.
Ali: My violin I feel was actually way underpriced. Very nice sounding instrument that I got for a price for which you can normally only get a cheap, factory made student violin.
4. What is one thing you most regret selling or not purchasing?
Michele: I’ve sold a lot of good vintage in the past 5 years that I probably could have held on to (seller’s remorse) but, out with the old…Funny enough, a friend bought one purse at Squaresville, and in turn I bought another friend’s charming pair of 70′s denim. Other than that, a word to the wise, some of my favorite vintage Fendi went to pot because I didn’t properly cover it.
Ali: [sounds of crickets in the background]
5. What items in your closet can you not live without?
Michele: A super soft leather LnA motocycle jacket that my husband got me for my birthday, and loads of my Mom’s vintage scarves are great accessories while I’m nursing Louisiana. Both my Mom & Nana passed on the most beautiful jewelry to my sisters and myself and I’m rarely without at least one piece on.
Ali: Well, I definitely put my black skinny Levi’s Made & Crafted to use as well as my Duckie Florsheims, and all my Steven Alan flannels. I really like my handmade Rag & Bone pants.
6. Are you currently saving up for something special?
Michele: Traveling with my family and a sexy Eres one piece for Hawaii. The Row’s leather leggings would be fun as well.
Ali: Rent. JK. I’ve been wanting a motorcycle since I was 17. A nice cafe racer would be cool. So if anyone out there is looking to buy me an expensive gift…
7. Favorite outfit when in doubt?
Michele: Cut off jean shorts and a worn in old T-shirt or Rag & Bone jeans. Barefoot at home and comfortable shoes for walking the stroller out. My Rachel Comey Penpal boots from Vamp or Madewell booties my Mom got me after I had Lou and always, my beat up old Supergas from high school.
Ali: Same as Question 5: Floreshiems, Levi’s and flannel.
8. Beauty regime? Favorite products?
Michele: I’ve been going to Svetlana Care For Skin at Cristophe Salon in Beverly Hills for well over 11 years now, she’s like an Aunt to me. I’d say she helped me have beautiful skin. I’ve referred a lot of friends to her. She makes skin look like a baby’s bottom. If you go, be prepared, you’ll always return.
Aside from that, trying to keep singular and natural for my family these days, like using raw Apple Cider Vinegar as yummy elixirs to simple body tonics. My face and body are really happy and glowing since I started using Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Organic Pure-Castile Soap and mixed with water in a spray bottle is an effective laundry pretreat. I love oils and also do lots of rose hips, jojoba and even raw coconut oil on my sweet LouLou’s bum. Last Summer I found a legit 100% natural African shea butter in Big Sur that saved me from any stretch marks during my pregnancy and it’s a great sunblock as well. Also, I love Arcona, Dr. Hauschka and if I want to get fancy, I’ll get a serum from Natura Bisse.
Ali: I have a nice straight razor with a wooden handle that I love. Gives you a much closer, better shave than a safety razor… not that you could guess from looking at my beard.
9. If you were stuck on an island what would be the 5 items you could not live without?
Michele: My baby Louisiana Kidd Helnwein, my true love Ali Helnwein, 80 Acres Olive Oil balm, rose water and raw coconut water.
Ali: Michele, Lou, my violin, some swimming trunks and a monkey friend that helps me get coconuts from the trees.
10. Favorite movies?
Michele: I most admire the depth and beauty of actors who seamlessly reveal a whole character like Javier Bardem in films such as The Sea Inside and Before Night Falls. Charlie Chaplin. Woody Allen. I adore Lucille Ball, grew up with my mom laughing to I Love Lucy, this is a hard question…hummm, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Princess Bride. I love comedy, from My Man Godfrey to Mr. Mom. But Ali and I can agree, hands down Eddie Murphy rules. Oh, Wall-E and anything Will Farrell and Truffaut.
Ali: Requiem for a Dream, Delicatessen, Amelie, Dancer in the Dark. And ditto on Eddie Murphy!!!!! I know I’m forgetting a lot of films I really love, but anything by Darren Aronofsky or Jean-Pierre Jeunet is right up my alley.
11. Favorite quotes?
Michele: My favorites are always from Kurt Vonnegut. Good words to live by…kindness, wit and such. If I had my druthers I would name any pet or offspring Vonnegut. One refreshing quote that really validates is by Kerouac, “…the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders cross the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’ ”
Ali: Can’t think of a specific quote, but Alexandre Dumas is my favorite author, along with Voltaire.
12. Was there a time you should have been in the FASHION POLICE report? And what were you wearing?
Michele: Bad perms and boy hair cuts.
Ali: Don’t ask my sister to show you pictures of me in the 90s.
13. In what do you feel most glamorous?
Michele: Blood, Flux & Locket jewelry that I handmade, a perfectly fitting dress and a glass of bubbly, laughing and talking under the stars with my husband and my best friend. But I feel my best a la natural, fresh from the pool a little sun kissed.
14. Favorite local hang out spots in L.A.?
Michele: We got married a year ago amongst the trees, at the Trails Cafe in Griffith Park. Farfalla and Elf have delicious organic dishes. We shop the Hollywood and Echo Park Farmer’s Markets. I love UCB Theatre & doing Improv and Sketch comedy around town at indie shows. I performed my entire pregnancy with a troupe and felt so incredible. I just did it solo again the other day and am excited to be back acting as a Mama. Kind of a dream for me.
Ali: Disney Hall, Griffith Park, Little Tokyo.
15. Tea or Coffee?
Michele: We got a beautiful Pasquini espresso machine for our engagement, and buy Gimme Coffee! espresso beans from Broome Street General Store. Definitely tea in the evening though, so cozy.
Ali: Espresso drinks!!!
16. Favorite book?
Michele: Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss.
Ali: The Count of Monte Cristo, Candide, and I really enjoyed this book called Mr. Vertigo. And I also really like Oh, The Places You’ll Go – a simple children’s story, buy very applicable at any age.
17. What’s on your iPod?
Michele: The Velvet Underground, Echo and the Bunnymen, Karen Dalton to Radiohead to Django Reinhardt, Nina Simone to Robert Johnson, Jimmy Reed, Vivaldi & on…We’re trying to expose Louisiana to every type of music on a daily basis and she loves it.
Ali: J.S BACH! Schoenberg, Stravinsky, J.S Bach, Dvorak, Sibelius, Vivaldi, Portishead/Beth Gibbons, J.S Bach, Cat Power, Beck, Blonde Redhead, J.S Bach, Philip Grass, Django Reinhardt, and tons of other music…and J.S Bach.
18. Lingerie or naked?
Michele: Both. We like baths and we like lingerie. Ali recently got me some cute stuff at Panty Raid right before the baby came.
19. Favorite vacation spot?
Michele: To be with my family on the Lake, near Mercer, Pennsylvania, or in the magical woods of Ireland.
Ali: I like to travel to all sorts of different places, and without a plan or map…just walk down random streets. Basically the opposite of an organized tourist approach. I tend to find much cooler spots and more interesting people and culture that way, than I would by only visiting the designated spots on a map. And of course in Ireland.
Photography by Lily Flores