We connected with Lisa via old-school bi-coastal correspondence to ask this talented wanderer about the delights that make her world go around. Not surprisingly, her responses are evident in this poetic OZMA editorial she created with photographer and friend Lucy Laucht (co-founder of Southwestern-inspired hattery Tio y Tia). While there are endless moments for us to delve into her story, we started at a place where most of us were still awkwardly struggling to bloom.
What were you like in high school?
Thoroughly and decidedly un-cool. Quiet, unsure, and 110% by the books—a real goody two-shoes (never drank, smoked, cursed etc.) Catholic school will do that to you.
You said in the past "I love the fact that you can wear someone's version of art/design... that feels really special to me" - what is it about OZMA's collection that feels so special to you?
The beautiful simplicity of it all—the organic textures and the warmth that texture brings to the pieces. The fact that I can wear that slip dress practically every day and never tire of it.
Favorite item in your closet currently?
You've mentioned that writing is you first and omnipresent love, what keeps you motivated with your writing practice?
I love writing but I don't do it in a wake-up-in-the-morning-and-
Biggest struggle as a freelance writer?
Morning person or night owl?
Neither really. Working in restaurants for over a decade basically meant that I'd get home in at 2:00 a.m. or later, which made it so that I love being in bed by 10:00 p.m., lights out by midnight at the latest. All that being said, I am most definitely not a morning person—being made to wake up when it's still dark is unforgivable in my book. I think the long and short of it is that bed is my favorite place to be.
What sentence, written by you or another author, stays with you? Is there a line in fiction or nonfiction that echoes often in your mind?
Ah. This is a tough one. I actually don't have a specific line that I carry with me. There are definitely entire passages from books that have taken me out at the knees and an infinite number of two-word combinations and back-to-back sentences that have left be giddy and absolutely thrilled but they are so vast in number that I could never begin to attempt to regurgitate them on command. I suppose my most recent favorite passage is from a book I'm currently reading:
And then there's some quote from the Great Gatsby about the lawn and sound and color and maybe about something twinkling but I can't remember it for the life of me—all I remember was being in a literature class and having a professor point out the use of color as sound and my sophomoric mind being completely blown away and enamored by that idea.
When you were gaining notoriety as a florist with big name clients, you mentioned it felt a little disingenuous sharing on social media because the reality was that you were working under humble circumstances. Are there new practices you try to strive for to be more genuine in the social media landscape? Or does it feel like we are catching on and that social media world is consumed with a caveat that it's not always as it appears?
I wish I could say yes but the answer is most definitely no. I mean, social media is based entirely on cherry-picking the best, most beautifully curated and airbrushed version of yourself, your home, your friends, your travels, you business, your life. It's all just one big, sweeping exercise in marketing/pr and I'm caught up in it as much as anyone else is. I suppose if there's a place for honesty it would be in some of my captions or in the stories I post and there is a slice of honesty in the fact that I truly take pleasure in creating beautiful things—whether it's a home or a paragraph or an arrangement—and the photos of my home or arrangements are an extension of that—taking them and composing them makes me happy. I think the thing that's hard about Instagram is that everyone's fragile egos are crammed tight into one 24 hour, 7 days a week, never-ever off, always accessible place that's based entirely on feeling validated by likes and that makes it feel really unhealthy. They've done an amazing job of tapping into the insecure junior high-schooler in all of us.
We love the mix of inside and outside in your feed. Those two spaces are so important to our survival and health as humans. It seem that we all have inside selves and outdoor selves. Have you thought about your indoor vs. outdoor self?
I suppose that my indoor self vs. my outdoor self is contingent on the season and my location. If it's summer in the city, I am my happiest most freest self when I'm outdoors—same as summer upstate: during the warmer months the line between indoors and outdoors is blurred making room for this really wonderful overlap. To me this is true freedom. My outdoor self upstate is digging holes and planting things, swimming in ponds, and barbecuing. My indoor self is at rest. In the winter in the city I am at my happiest indoors (until I start to feel trapped inside by the cold and a restless claustrophobia sets in). I'm warm and cozy and am in sweatpants and slippers and all is right with the world. My outdoor self is like a cat that's being asked to get into a bath: resistant and unhappy, and angry.
What object lately has been evocative to you lately? When did you acquire it and how has it found a place in your physical and emotional life?
Clippings of creosote always remind me of my time in Tucson and the smell that sweeps through the desert when it rains. It's such a visceral, heady, clean, and earthy smell and it instantly takes me back to that feeling.
When you are making a personal arrangement for yourself, what is most gratifying about the process? The clarity of mind where everything goes quiet? The intimate moment with nature? The gazing that comes once it's complete?
What is your favorite flower and why?
I do love wild roses because it doesn't get more romantic than that—also a fan of poppies for their wild lines and understated fragrance.
It looks like you split your time between Greenpoint & Catskills - what does having two very different locations to travel between do for you and your tribe?
Living in New York is a wonderful thing but it's also exhausting and overwhelming. It's never quiet. You share a wall and a ceiling and a floor with neighbors and the trash gets picked up outside our window every night at 2:00AM and there are drunk people yelling on the street below and two bus lines and and and....having a place to escape and hit a reset button has extended our shelf life in the city and having both places allows you to appreciate the other even more. If we didn't live in NYC the vast quiet and green and openness of upstate wouldn't feel as miraculous. And having our upstate home means that when we get back to the city we are ready to enjoy it more than we would if we were constantly in it.
Favorite hole in the wall dining destination in your city?
Ashbox in Greenpoint. Run by these Japanese ladies who, nine times out of ten, are wearing the most adorable hats while serving up delicious onigiri. A totally unassuming, genuine spot in a sea of over-stylized, meticulously branded restaurants.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Beautiful works of art—anything from a good book, poem, movie, painting, photograph, or a song. Paying attention to the small everyday moments that reveal part of the truth and magic of humanity.
Optimism or realism?
Realism (which some people will tell you is pessimism, though I'd disagree).
If you could live in any decade what would it be?
Despite all its faults I'd say this one. Happy to stay put.
We're glad too.