Profile Response: Ella Russell, Houston, TX

HWWLT Logo on yellowElla Russell doesn’t do handshakes. “I believe in hugs!” She exclaims as she comes at you with two outstretched arms and folds you into her bosom.

Ella is a culinary artist, one of the two pop-up shops included in Project RowHouse Round 43, ‘Small Business/Big Change, Economic Perspectives from Artists and Artrepreneurs’. Ella and her designer friend Anthony Suber transformed one of the Project Rowhouse galleries into the Crumbville Texas General Store. The cash register counter is littered with glass canisters filled with cookie samples. Cold bottles of almond and soy milk sit in an ice-filled galvanized bucket. Packages of edubilicious cookies fill a table; unique cupcakes line the shelves.

1993-photo images

Ella’s a jolly baker in luscious purple lipstick. “I don’t have the metabolism to eat cookies.” So she baked treats for her children to take to school instead. Then she started baking for friends’ parties, which led to a mobile business delivering her baked goodness.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 12.14.20 PMThe menu is simple. You can buy a pair of softball-sized cookies, most of which are combinations of traditional themes, or giant, complex cupcakes. ‘Netflix and Chill’ includes popcorn and movie candy. the vegan variety is baked with kale popcorn and crystallized ginger. Being a sweet-a-holic, I went for pecan raisin cookies and a ‘Global Monsoon’ cupcake, inspired by a local band with four musicians of different ethnicities: Black, White, Korean, and Creole. “It’s a dark chocolate cookie baked into white cake with caramel frosting and peppermint.” The goodies are five dollars; Ella’s hugs and love are free.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 12.14.38 PMThe Project RowHouse gig is Ella’s first opportunity to sell sweets in a fixed space. “It’s been priceless. People come in for the treats and stay for the community.” On Sundays, Ella brings in a DJ for afternoon jazz and cookies. “There’s no Wi-Fi here. Just people being real.


“Once, a woman picked out three packages of cookies. We got to talking and took pictures and she left. She came back an hour later. ‘I forgot to pay for my cookies.’ She gave me the money. How honest is that!”


True, the woman was honest. But purchasing a cookie from Ella is not a transaction; it’s just one element of the relationship this woman creates with every person she encounters.

When I finally forced myself to leave Ella’s sweet space, I pulled out my wallet. “That will be five dollars.” Ella nodded to my package of cookies. “Remember I also had the cupcake.” I handed her a ten. “Oh, I forgot. You ate that so fast.”

Ella is not a great success because of her accounting skills. She is a great success because of her people skills. And her baking skills are mighty fine. No one could a cheat a person who makes something so sweet for our belly while simultaneously nourishing our soul

How will we live tomorrow?

IMG_6107“We will live tomorrow like we live and die today. Loving ourselves and loving others.”


About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog,, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
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2 Responses to Profile Response: Ella Russell, Houston, TX

  1. Gorman, Cleo says:

    How are you? Surgery results?


  2. paulefallon says:

    Recovery is on track. Finished with doctors, on to PT and OT though still typing with one hand!

    Hope all is well.


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