Jewelry

Beach

As you know, I’m incredibly proud and thankful to collaborate with Skjaeraasen Jewelry, and since a hint of autumn just hit the city, I wanted to share some of these photos before the summer fades too far into the past.

Please check out their website:
www.skjaeraasen.no

The designer, Kristin Skj√¶raasen, worked around my otherwise minimalistic style to find jewelry that I don’t just like, but LOVE — and that’s an accomplishment in itself!

Photo: Rannveig Froestad. Jewelry by Skjaeraasen.
Photo: Rannveig Froestad. Jewelry by Skjaeraasen.
Photo: Rannveig Froestad. Jewelry by Skjaeraasen.

 

PS!
If you, after looking at these photos, think that I’m even close to this elegant in real life, let me remind you of who I really am …

Most of the pictures ended up looking like this:

Or this:
(Because I’m always cold and had to warm up between every shot).

But I like running, so it was fine.

This post Part 2 out of many more. Click to see Part 1 HERE.

 

Until next time.

www.skjaeraasen.no

 

Q&A Answers

Good afternoon and thank you so much for the questions ūüôā

Last year I think some of you had a little too much fun with copying and pasting gigantic questionnaires into the comments section, and I didn’t even get to respond to all of them. Thankfully, I didn’t run into that problem this year; I even had time to add some pictures!

Matt:
Do you have all the money for film school now?
No, I only have the first year covered, so far. Which is a miracle in itself, so we’ll see. I trust God’s plan.

Hei:
Er du fortsatt singel? (English: Are you still single?)
Yes. No news since I wrote THIS post.

K:
Name your favorite bible verse.
Philippians 4:13.

Youknowwho:
1. What’s the most dangerous thing you ever did?
¬†– Ooh, that’s a tough one. Some things are better left untold. Don’t they say that being alive is pretty dangerous?

2. Biggest pet peeve?
 РConversations like these:
Random American person: You have an accent. Where are you from?
Me: Norway.
Random American person: Oh, me too!
Me: Cool, where in Norway?
Random American person: I think the town was called Stockholm. You see, my great grandmother’s, uncle’s, third cousin’s, great aunt’s sister¬†was from Norway. Do you eat lutefisk? (Pronounced loodafisk)

3. Where would you want to live?
¬†– Right now I wouldn’t want to live anywhere but New York City, but maybe in a few years I’ll want to move somewhere else. I love Los Angeles equally much, but who knows. I’ll live where God wants me.

4. Your biggest mice?
¬†– Whooh, thankfully you didn’t replace that “m” withy a “v”. Or else I’d have to share my biggest vice, and that would’ve been bad. You can read this post and see if you’ll figure it out on your own ūüėČ

5. Is your tattoo real?
 РYes, they are.

6. What do you like the most and least about blogging?
¬†– Good question! I like that I get to express myself through writing, and the almost-theraputic effect it has on me. It’s a great outlet, de-stresser and a nice way to keep my friends and family abroad up to date with what I’m doing. I also like that it gives me a voice that reaches a little further than it otherwise would have.

I can’t find too many things I don’t like about it. It can get a little strenuous when I meet people I haven’t seen in half a decade, and they seem to know “everything” about me, and I have to ask 40 questions in a row to keep the conversation going. But that’s entirely my fault; I choose to blog about my life, so that’s a part of the deal.

7. Celebrity crush?
¬†– Hmm, I can honestly say I’ve never had a legitimate celebrity crush. The walls of my room have always been completely clear of posters, (besides the celebrity-drawings I made, that my mom put on the walls against my will) so this is a tough one, haha. I guess I don’t see celebrities as stars; most of the time they’re just normal people with cool jobs, and I also find it hard to have crushes on people I don’t know on a personal level. BUT, on a superficial note I must say that Chris Hemsworth and Tim Tebow are pretty handsome.

On an even more superficial note; some faces are just exceptionally good for drawing.

This makes me feel like picking up the pencil and start drawing some again.

8. Who could you marry in a heart beat?
The right one.

9. How many kids do you want? If you want kids at all.
Ooh, I feel like I’m making big decisions just answering these questions, hah! But yes, I definitely want kids at one point. How many? I have a feeling my future husband might want to have a say in it, so we’ll see.

10. How tall are you?
Somewhere between 5’7″ and 5’8″.

 

Lexi:
I’m confused, did you study media or film?
¬†– I majored in journalism and took a minor in theatre at Augustana. I’ll study filmmaking at NYU Tisch this coming fall. Read more HERE.

How did you fund over the bridge?
¬†– When we started, Sarah and I didn’t intend for Over the Bridge to become anything more than a 4-minute film, so we didn’t do any fundraising beforehand. We did however, have a fundraising campaign to pay for entry fees at film festivals.

Photo: Rachel Johnston.

Did you rent the equipment for the shoot?
 РWe shot everything the minimalist-way and used our own equipment for the shoot; two DSLR-cameras, a microphone and a tripod. All-natural lighting.

Two film producers bundled up in seven layers. #SouthDakota. WIth Sarah Kocher.

Are you working on any new projects now?
– Over the Bridge turned out to be a much bigger project than anticipated, so I’ve spent all my freetime outside school on following up that project with film festivals, guest speaking, media-interviews, screenings at other schools and city council meetings etc. There hasn’t been any time for a new project, but I’m very excited to take on new projects at NYU this fall!

Hanna K:
What’s your workout and diet regimen like?
– I try to avoid anything with the word “regimen” in it, because I’ve spent so much of my life trapped inside strict training routines, both as an athlete, fitness enthusiast and “exercise addict.” Nowadays I just do some running and functional strength training. During the school year I hit the gym every morning, and now when I’m in Norway I just exercise after work. I eat pretty much everything. But then again; I’m not exactly in this shape anymore.

Photo: Line Valen 2013.

Hannah K:
What’s your comfort foods?
 РPizza and ice cream. No doubt.

Hannah K:
Do you make money on blogging?
¬†– Nope, not a dime, but I get other things for it — which I’ll write more about later ūüôā

My life as an adrenalin junkie

I don’t need a microscope to see where my high jump spikes once sliced my thigh open; the marks from the stitches are still there, and as I run my palms down my left shin I remember what a once-broken tibia feels like. The crackling sounds of worn out ankle-ligaments and a torn meniscus remind me of a time where no pain meant no gain, and ibuprofen was a part of any well-balanced meal.

Even if I don’t do competitive sports anymore, there are some traces of it that will always be a part of me: the physical marks, the memories, and the hunger for adrenalin.

While my enthusiasm for competitive sports was drowned by injuries, I still allow myself to indulge in the pleasures of a good adrenalin-high from time to time.

I do have to restrain myself though, because if I were to let loose my inner adrenalin junkie at all times, you’d probably see me flying out of planes as a skydiver five times a day, and I wouldn’t have gotten much else done.

But as a younger and less responsible human, I was not quite as advanced in this restraining thing. I won’t go into any details, but I’m pretty lucky things went as well as they did.

I actually think track helped tame that side of me; I stopped doing all those irresponsible stunts when I realized how much I disliked crutches, concussions and having to sit out track meets because of it.

 

 

My tool for self-restraint is to pretend I don’t even like those extreme things. When people ask me if I’d ever skydive, for example, I usually respond with a plain “no.” Not because I wouldn’t want to do it, but because I wouldn’t want the few minutes of pure excitement to jeopardize what I consider to be my real mission in life.

I don’t believe I was put on this earth to live for the short pleasures of extreme sports. Maybe some people are, but I know that–despite all temptation–it’s not what I was sent here for.

However, when smaller non-life threatening opportunities come my way, I do take them.

Like earlier this week, when my dear childhood-friend, Espen, asked me to join a tree top-park:

 

I admit it’s probably more “dangerous” than watching TV, but safer than skydiving — so it’s pretty safe.

Note: Espen is a little less good at restraining himself, (skydiving and bungee-jumping are some of his special skills) but I need to make sure I don’t become a wimp, so this was a perfect dose of adventure.


Oh, by the way, the closest to skydiving I’ve allowed myself to go was at Universal Studios in LA:

I’m not sure what was more entertaining; flying in the windtunnel¬†or watching the creepy guy that followed me around attempt to fly in the tunnel after me. He’s not in the video, but all I can say is that he was high on other things than adrenalin… “Tumbling weed” is the only word that comes to mind when I think about his face getting smushed onto the glass walls in between every uncontrolled tumble. Maybe a rag doll in a dryer gives you a proper visual?


Thanks for reading along, and have a wonderful weekend!

Bless you,
Maria

Not Perfect

I’m well aware that this blog has turned into more of a PR-platform and professional portfolio than the college blog it once was, so today I’ll tell you some things that have nothing to do with TV-interviews or so-called “Public Relations.”

You see, in-between the filmmaking, traveling, media appearances, film festivals, homeless awareness work, guest speaking events and heavily accented radio interviews, I’m just a quirky goofball with zero math skills.

So, here are eight confessions I never thought would make it onto the blog.

1.
Well, now you already know I suck at math.¬†And I don’t mean “I kinda struggle with this¬†antiderivative equation in this advanced calculus class.” No no, I’m actually so bad I need special tutoring just to pass my Math 140 class here at Augie, and I still don’t understand why we always need to find that “x.” I know I’m good at other things, so I don’t let it get to me.¬†But I have cried.

2.
If smoking wasn’t dangerous, I’d probably smoke two packs a day and wear a perfume with the smell of nicotine. Okay, that’s taking it a little far, but I do have a suppressed love for cigarettes.

Don’t believe me? Well, this is not a random gif I found online. It’s me; from my punk-phase and short-lived acting career. But don’t worry, it passed.

However, when this photoshoot called for a cigar, I didn’t exactly object. Photo: Rannveig¬†Froestad.

3.
Since we’re sharing secrets and stuff, I can tell you about the I tattoo that I took as an impulsive and rebellious teenager, and about how I’ve stopped counting the times I’ve considered removing it with laser treatments. Just hours after I got it, I tried all the home remedies, including the infamous “sea salt-rub” to make it go away. Please do not even think about trying this at home. I’ll share the picture when I’m less unproud.

4.
I absolutely cannot sing. One time in middle school, I was going to perform a song with a friend on the Norwegian Independence day, and I didn’t know how terrible I was until after we had already signed up, so I lip-synced the whole thing and blamed it on “a faulty microphone.” To this day, I don’t even sing in the shower.

5.
I’m allergic to pretty much every animal out there, and as a result, I was one time indirectly¬†accused of being a prostitute at a motel. Read more HERE.

6.
I’m a recovering exercise addict, and ruined my own track career with stress fractures and injuries, multiple times, which resulted in this questionable “How to work out on crutches” video.

7.
Every now and then I¬†risk my friends’ lives by not wearing my contacts when I drive them around. “Oh, was that red thing with white letters a stop sign?”

8.
I automatically take on an even thicker accent when I get pulled over by the cops: “Ay’m so sawrry, Ay’m frawm Nawrway, yu see.” Just to get some extra sympathy for not obeying¬†“knowing” the rules, and hoping they will ask me about “lefsa” or “lutefisk” or bring up their great grandmother’s uncle’s neighbour who immigrated from Germany or some other country clearly not connected to Norway.

9.
What you see on the blog vs. what really happens:

Photo: Mike Shafer.
Photo: Naras Prameswari.

So, there you go.¬†When I’m not on TV, making films, or guest speaking at high schools, I simply try my best to be me—and to represent what I believe in—to the best of my ability.

I’ve made mistakes; some of them visible in the form of unwanted ink on my body. The conclusion is that I’m not perfect, and I ¬† ¬†clearly ¬† have some things to improve.

Bless y’all,
Maria

Why I feel called to be a filmmaker

I first discovered the wonderful world of cinema when I was 11 years old. I mean, I had always enjoyed movies, but it was not until that particular year that I started to realize I no longer had a choice in the matter ‚Äď I had to be a filmmaker.

In retrospect, I see that I had many filmmakers‚Äô symptoms even before I knew what they were. For instance: when I was introduced to E.T. at age eight, I spent the next months relentlessly searching for a flashlight that could create the same kinds of light beams I had seen in the movie. I even went as far as putting ‚Äėflashlights‚Äô all over my wish list for both my birthday and Christmas ‚Äď not knowing that those beautiful cinematic beams were caused by the haze in the air, and not the flashlight itself. That was the beginning of my film-nerding phase.


Screenshot from E.T. Dreamworks 1982. Directed by Steven Spielberg.

But this story does not really start there. I am not writing this because of a fascination for ‚ÄúSpielbergian‚ÄĚ cinematography, or because I saw one single film and decided I wanted to be a filmmaker. No, I am writing this to share the story of the months that changed my life, and slowly made me discover a passion that goes far beyond light beams and flashlights.

It all began when I was ten, and one morning woke up with terrible stomach pain. To make a long story short: the doctors found three cystic tumors on my liver, and as my health was quickly deteriorating I was¬†and sent to a hospital in a city three hours away for treatment. You can read the whole story here:¬†‚ÄúThe tumors that changed my life‚ÄĚ.

During this time, movies became a way for me to escape, and they allowed me–even for just a moment–to forget about the cold liquids that entered my veins through the IV standing next to my bed. I let Charlie take me to Willy Wonka‚Äôs Chocolate Factory, I saw Ms. Trunchbull hammer-throw little girls by their ponytails in Matilda, and I witnessed Pippi Longstocking‚Äôs superpowers with the same excitement I had seen Elliott‚Äôs bike fly across the full-moon in E.T. a few years earlier.

The thrill of seeing the young characters overcome their struggles, explore the unknown and stun the world with their abilities made me hungry for more. Despite their young age, they had already experienced severe adversity, but that did not in any way lessen their success. I wanted to be one of them, and I wanted to tell stories like theirs ‚Äď stories to encourage and inspire.

 

In the years that followed, my family faced a number of challenges because of my mother’s health, but together with our mutual faith, movies have always been something that united us. It is that time of the week when we are all together, we forget about tomorrow and we sweep through several movies back to back. It is our thing. And it is great.

More than a decade has passed, but my goal is still the same: I want to make films that make people feel what I felt when I was first introduced to Matilda and Charlie, and I strive to make people feel what they only experience in their dreams, or when they look back at their past. That does not mean I only want to make those glossy, orange-filtered music video-looking films that remind people of their glorious youth. No, I want to make films that can inspire people to expand their own horizon, help them see beyond where they are and what they have, and encourage them to believe in something bigger.

As an adult, I see that it was not Matilda, Charlie, Pippi, or Elliott themselves that inspired me ‚Äď it was their stories; they were ordinary people on extraordinary journeys.

I may never invent anything that will have a universal impact on people, but I want to use my talents to tell stories, and let them speak for themselves, something I think is more important than ever. Not just for entertainment purposes, but because, in my opinion, film is one of the mediums that still possess the power to truly influence people.

So what about the things I said in the introduction, about not having a choice in the matter, and that I had to be a filmmaker? Well, that is how I feel, even if at this point do not have the financial resources to go to film school. I guess some people feel called to be doctors, carpenters, lawyers, priests and teachers, while others are called to make films. I have many times wished I were not so ridiculously passionate about it, because it is certainly not the most secure or financially rewarding job, at least not to begin with, but I am determined to do everything I possibly can to tell those stories that are just waiting to be told on the screen.

Maria Lavelle

Photo: Naras Prameswari.

It’s been a week since I got accepted to the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and like I mentioned in my last post “Mysterious Ways,” people have reached out and suggested ways to come up with the money. So, after a lot of debating with myself and a lot of “peer pressure,” I have now stepped way outside my comfort zone and started a GoFundMe profile.¬†

https://www.gofundme.com/nyu-tisch-maria-lavelle

It’s really uncomfortable putting myself out there like that, because this time around I’m not doing it on behalf of the homeless community or anyone else. I also keep thinking that having a roof over your head, food on the table and a basic education is a right we should fight for, while going to film school is not a human right — it’s a privilege.

But for me, it is about embracing an opportunity that will allow me to tell more of those important stories. I want to change lives with my work, and I believe NYU can help me on my way.

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