L A N D S END

“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.”

– WILLIAM S. B U R R O U G H S

I’ve always been one to journey to new places. At times it’s simply exploring a new street in a new part of town, other times it’s an escapade to another country. Maybe it’s the freshness in atmosphere or the mystery of who or what I will encounter. Whatever it may be, I’ve always been one who anticipates the excitement and knowledge that comes with lived experiences; in getting out of the comfort of the expected.

Something is so life giving in opening your eyes and heart to a new culture or way of life. I don’t know why but when I was little, I had a strong desire to be someone else. I even asked my mom to change my name. I know, silly to think about now as I truly love my name (and life for that matter). But at the time, I think this desire was the budding of something innate in me.  My adventurous spirit. Dressing up, role playing, finding common ground in the uncommon, exploring life outside of “home” — These are, and I think will always be, like air to me.

Wanting to understand others (and therefore myself) is something I have become passionate about since moving to the West Coast. I think maybe that’s why I attract such unique personalities and strangers into my life. I’m open to allowing chance encounters to happen, often impacting me in ways my inner circle cannot. I think part of the allure of such encounters is the impression they can leave within a small fraction of time. That encounter, that moment, is impermanent and therefore special. That essence is what I cherish more than anything else.

Wandering and exploring has been (hands-down) my best teacher. My recent trip to Mexico however brought me some peace of mind with the opportunity re-lay the tracks of learning through inaction. The Taoist concept of Wu-Wei, non-action or effortless doing. Basically I was reminded of my very essence that somehow I strayed from in the process of striving and action.

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Finding inspiration and serenity in my surroundings came rushing in again. The peace in ‘the lack’ of action also created a stillness amidst the clatter of spring breakers and weddings. I noticed I moved with more instinct, more purpose, then ever before. Enter the “End of the Earth,” better known as Cabo San Lucas.

One person I met on my Cabo journey was Alfredo, a silver jeweler who makes his living selling jewelry to tourists on the beaches. In his land, he has apparently made a decent name for himself as I learned from a returning customer as I got my henna tattoo. Despite not giving him service that day he still engaged with me and my family. I was drawn to his energy, confidence and white gloves. He was different. He was personable… and he was memorable.

Like all the other sellers, he was dressed in all white. Long pants, long sleeves, eyes shielded by dark sunglasses. His sombrero read “Alfredo” in acrylic red paint along the back rim. His hands were equally shielded by white gloves that notoriously earned him the nickname, “Alfredo White Gloves.” Rather I called him “The White Bandit.”

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He had a sort of mystery to him and I enjoyed talking with him, even when he was joking around trying to sell me. I giggled every time he referred to the men passing as “money bags.” I also admired his inability to hesitate at the opportunity to delight and sway anyone who showed the slightest interest to come chat with him. It was infectious, it got under your skin in the best way. Now I wish I took a photo with him…

Sure there were plenty of brilliant and movie like moments, which I captured. Not to mention amazing family time, which I cherish greatly and keep close to heart. However, when I reflect back on my time spent in Cabo, Alfredo was the most memorable hands down. I mean I can talk about all the things I saw but here I am,  writing about him. I find that amusing. Maybe it was the gloves, his humor, or the fact he took off his glasses after I made my one and only purchase on the island to reveal gentle and kind soft blue eyes.

Life and travel is about connection. It’s about the people. It’s about conversation and finding the common ground. I would be dismayed if I traveled all the way to ‘the end of the world’ and didn’t have a human connection with a local. Alfredo, thanks for reminding me of some simple truths. You are my fondest memory.

WISDOM OF CABO

  1. Life will reveal to you whatever you focus on
  2. Persistence pays off
  3. Worrying cuts you off from peace
  4. Music is the universal language
  5. Inaction is sometimes more productive than action

DO: Bring ear plugs and a high SPF

STAY: The Riu Palace

SAVOUR: The local flavor! Fried plantains and FRESH JUICE were staples in my daily routine. Of course a side of guacamole and chips for breakfast, because why the eff not? Then you gotta have all the seafood for lunch. Stuffed green chillis were a nice indulgence. One of my favorite part of the day was loading a plate of chips with guacamole, pico and washing it down with a Dos Equis on the beach 🙂

MUST TRY: The blended cocktails at the Rui Palace (the Costa Caribe and Passion Dream were my favorites)

FAVORITE MEMORY: (Besides Alfredo), I enjoyed morning workouts with my mom. Having someone to workout with and stay motivated with on vacation is always nice. Also feeling the chilling intensity of the Pacific ocean. Planting my feet firm into wet sand to brace myself for the pounding waves that rolled in and out around my legs. I did that everyday and hope to do it more in Los Angeles.

Where one land ends, another begins,

M

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THE POWER OF I AM

“I am is one of the most powerful statements we can make. Whatever follows “I am” starts the creation of it.”

– KRISTEN B U T L E R

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Have you stopped lately to listen to what you’re saying about yourself? The words you choose, the actions you take that reinforce these thoughts? I started my year off recognizing this truth by tapping into the word I AM. By doing so, I realized how easily life began to flow to me and for me. Most of all, I loved that I was practicing my knowledge and belief that I was a co-creator with source.

I find it truly empowering that we all have free will or the power of choice. We can choose the direction of our lives, whether that’s positive or negative, rich and abundant or limited by lack. In becoming aware of this, we can change the direction of our life’s course with a simple shift in our words, thoughts and actions.

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Morgan05

I know we can all be hard on ourselves and self-critical at times. I think that’s natural and needed. The real test is not being perfect but more so how we choose to use these hardships. Are we going to kindle the fire and continue harping on what we don’t like or are we going use the pain to promote change? Continuation of anything becomes habit, so the quicker you can shift into a place of progress the better off you’ll be.

AWARENESS is the first step to adjusting and creating a healthier life. The thing I realized was my negative self talk or energy was not only permating me as a person but something larger than myself. It was closing me off from positive growth, people and situations that wanted to help me! And as someone passionately focused on growth and improvement, this was a major RED FLAG.

This brings me to the next step DESIRE. You have to actually reach a point where you can no longer accept the way things are. You know kinda like that phrase, ‘it’s always darkest before the dawn,’ or ‘things will get worse before they can get better.’ Sounds really dark but now I get it. You have to want to change and therefore sometimes it takes some dark moments to search for the light.

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Through desire comes deliberate ACTION. I wanted to feel better, I wanted to speak more kindness and most of all, I wanted to help others. But by falling back into some mental bad habits (which I’m truly grateful for), I realized I could only help others by reframing and working on my own ish-ues. So I took inventory of what was working for me back in the beginning of the year and I did the work.

I love this quote from Kristen Butler from the Power of Positivity; “Our thoughts and words have crafted our present and are currently crafting our future.” This really puts into perspective how we throw words around but if we saw the immediate manifestion of them we might take time to be a a little more selective, ammmmiright? Like imagine if you’re like “I AM FAT,” and in a blink of an eye you gained 200 lbs. I think you would watch yo mouth a lil more, and also, you would appreciate where you’re at more too.

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A poisitive reflection I had in my “darkness” was if I had success in the beginning of the year, I can have it again. This self soothing talk really helped me feel optimistic and then helped me stay on track. So I started writing in my I AM Journal again. I carved out a non-negotiable, consistent practice or a morning ritual. This included morning coffee, journaling and reading. I would write out my gratitude, intentions and I AM statements in my I AM Journal. Then I would read whatever I felt compelled to for my daily inspiration.

I want to reiterate, CONSISTENCY is key.  You have to keep at it to build momentum behind this practice and energy. The best part is once you do so long enough, it becomes a habit (and a postive one might I add). You’ll eventaully get to a point where you won’t wanna have your morning coffee without it. If a daily practice is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

So where are you at today in this journey? I encourage you to take a mental and emotional inventory by sitting quietly and silencing the chatter. Whatever is bothering you, find the contrasting feeling and say or write I AM before it. Know that you’re worthy of it and feel that. As always, feel free to share yours in the comments below!

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I AM STEPPING INTO MY POWER,

M

 

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T H E  G I V I N G  K E Y S

 

| PHOTO |

S T E V E  E R L E 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FLAG F I N I S H

“The way to measure your progress is backward against where you started, not against your ideal.”

– DAN S U L L I V AN

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I’m a notorious idealist. I tend to set my eyes on lofty goals and choose to see life through an idealistic lens. It wasn’t until recently that I realized this might actually be setting me back versus helping me attain those goals. So let’s break down progress and success on the two therories of ideals vs goals.

An ideal is one’s concept of perfection. It strictly exsists in one’s imagination and is unlikely to become reality. A goal is a product of one’s effort or ambition. An aim that is specific and measureable.

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Here are some facts about ideals:

  1. They’re general and immeasurable
  2. They are constantly changing as you grow and change
  3. The measurement of yourself of where you currently are against your ideals creates unhappiness
  4. If you don’t have a way to measure your progress it’ll be hard to stick with it
  5. They’re distant and abstract

Here are some facts on happiness in relation to success:

  1. When you fail to appreciate where you are right now, you miss out on the benefits of mindfulness, and the journey to the desired “destination.”
  2. If you don’t take time to reflect on your progress, you miss all the small wins along the way therefore have less gratitude, confidence and joy. Without happiness, gratitude and confidence, you won’t want to imagine or create more goals.
  3. If you can’t measure your success, you can’t verify progress, which creates negative emotions versus confidence (a proven by product of success)
  4. The anticipation of success is almost always more powerful than the event itself
  5. Happiness is the secret to success

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Therefore, it’s safe to say our ideals should not be our benchmark for growth and achievement. Rather, ideals should be a source to create specific and challenging long-term goals. When you take the time to reflect and measure your progress, you’ll enable yourself to set powerful goals with clarity as these goals will be created from a place of confidence, happiness, and gratitude. Most importantly, they will be tangible. 

How do we do this? We transistion from ‘The Gap’ to ‘The Gain’ as Dan Sullivan calls it. This means focusing less on the ideals and more on the progess in relation to your starting point! The Gap, or ideal, can feel daunting and as if you’ve made zero progress due to their distant nature. Psychologically, you can also begin to dig yourself into a ditch as you tend to see all the time/energy you’ve used as a waste as you’re still not where you “need” to be.

Rather with ‘The Gain’ mindset, you measure your growth against your starting point. You’ll naturally begin to feel a sense of progress and forward movement as a result. This in return produces an emotion of satisfaction and happiness and ultimately motivates you to continue on your path to growth and achievement.

So let’s just sayfor a second that I would like to make a lofty goal for myself for the year of 2018: That is I want to attain a Sports Illustrated body! Now this isn’t very measurable nor is it specific for that matter. However if I set goals and live in the ‘The Gain’ mentality, I can then go in each month and set smaller, tangible goals such as attending Buti Yoga twice a week. This is a tangible goal I can measure at the month’s end. I can also compare myself from my staring point to map out my phyiscal progress.

I think this is a very important discussion to have in this day an age with all the media we choose to absorb online and out in the world. We all want to be our own boss, have a successful business and home life and of course make loads of money. On the downside we all at one time or another have fallen victim to unrealistic comparison, whether it’s photoshopped bodies we see all over Instagram or the perfection of someone’s feed. I think when it comes down to it, we all just want to be the best versions of ourselves and to that notion, I commend the.

I’m not saying ideals are completely terrible. There is defintiely a time and place for going general and daydreaming (primarily when you lack clarity or you’re building a long-term vision). More so what I’m saying is in order to stay on track, make sure you’re also taking the time to build the specific and attainable goals (with clarity). Know when to use them but also learn to keep up and adjust each accordingly as you change and grow.

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More-gain,

M

 

Photography: Nat Sin of Style Cruise

 

 

 

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| SPECIAL GUEST: KRIS JONES |

“A person who sees a problem is a human being; a person who finds a solution is a visionary; and the person who goes out and does something about it is an entrepreneur.”

– N A V E E N JAIN

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This month I had the pleasure of getting to know Kris Jones. A father, entrepreneur and a true rags-to-riches success story. He is the founder of not one but several apps including, Special Guest AppLSEO.comReferLocal.comFrench Girls App, and APPEK Mobile Apps. He grew a multi-million dollar business while in grad school at Villanova and he sold a separate business to eBay after law school at Albany Law. If that doesn’t give you a dose of motivation I don’t now what will.

As someone who focuses a lot of my time and energy on self-help and personal/professional development, I’m always searching for new tools that will take me to the next level (as I’m sure you do too). The best way to stay inspired is to surround yourself with the wise and great. Kris has achieved huge success and is willing to share some of his secrets with us. In this discussion, we explore the entrepreneur psychology,  how to successfully set goals, and what must be developed to get an idea off the ground.

Before we start, I would like to share a side note and small world ‘coincidence.’ After we connected online, I found that Kris attended law school in my hometown of Albany, NY. How serendipitous that we both share that ‘Albany to Los Angeles’ familiarity. It’s truly inspiring to see someone who had no network and still become wildly successful. With that being said, let’s get right to it, enjoy this month’s special guest, Kris Jones!

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What are your top laws/rules for success?

KJ: Execution over ideas. I’m a doer. I believe strongly that success doesn’t come from ideas, but rather the execution of those ideas. Building up confidence and skills that leads to successfully executing goals is my super power. Everyone has untapped God-given potential.

The key to success is believing that you can accomplish just about anything you set your mind to. You don’t have to wait. You can take action right now. It all starts with the first step toward your destiny. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Get in the game.

What’s one book you would suggest for any budding entrepreneur?

KJ: The Lean Start-up by Eric Ries

What’s the one psychological skill/mental muscle you believe one should develop to succeed?

KJ: Confidence.

Clearly you know how to set lofty goals (100 episodes of ‘Ask Me Anything’). How do you set goals that are big yet attainable?

KJ: It takes practice. One way to increase the likelihood that you accomplish a goal is to share it with loved ones and make it public – we don’t like to disappoint others so it’s more likely that we won’t come up with reasons to quit something once we set a goal and take action. I don’t recommend that people set realistic goals. Realistic goals tend to be puny and are not inspiring.

Instead, I recommend setting goals that are uncomfortable. Uncomfortable goals are stretch goals – they give us little choice but to take immediate action toward the goal. For instance, at the beginning of 2017 I set a goal of creating 100 “Ask Me Anything” videos focused on personal and professional development. For people that don’t know me – (like most of you) I have a lot going on managing multiple businesses, writing monthly for publications like Forbes, Inc., and Search Engine Land, 3 kids, yada, yada, yada. So the idea of coordinating and finding time to shoot 100 videos in 1 year bordered on crazy. In fact, in the final weeks I received a message from someone saying “Kris – it’s OK that you aren’t going to accomplish your goal. It’s hard to accomplish all the goals we set, etc….” Indeed I accomplished the goal by the end of 2017 (with a band might I add) and I was able to do that because I created incredible momentum by setting an “uncomfortable” goal instead of a puny one that was realistic. 

You’ve touched on the necessity of being risk averse as an entrepreneur in one of your interviews. Are there any techniques one could use to strengthen and/or develop this quality?

When I use the word “risk averse” as an entrepreneur I’m referring to something I learned from the author / speaker Malcolm Gladwell at a conference the two of us spoke at 5 or so years ago. In short, he referenced that SUCCESSFUL entrepreneurs are social risk takers, but operationally risk averse. He went on to describe that as social risk takers SUCCESSFUL entrepreneurs don’t care much if people tell them they have a bad idea or that what they are attempting to do has a low probability of success. However, at the same time the SUCCESSFUL entrepreneur is plotting our a highly specific plan from A to Z to execute on his or her idea.

See my response above about how important execution is in success. So the key to building muscle around execution (in effect being operationally risk averse) is to learn and master business skills, such as financial analysis, growth marketing, mobile / web / product development, branding, etc. Again, one of the reasons why “ideas are overrated” is because having an idea isn’t enough – you’ve got to master how to take an idea and turn it into a business – that requires learned skills around business execution. Once you do that (it’s an ongoing process) your odds of business success go up dramatically.

What do you attribute your success to?

KJ: I believe in my potential to be successful. Success is part psychology and part skills. You can’t have consistent success with strong psychology and weak skills – I’m constantly self-educating on how to master my psychology and extend my business skills. I started reading and attending seminars about 20 years ago or so and I haven’t stopped. Everyday is a baseline.

So you’ve got a great and unique idea, where do you begin? What are the necessary steps that need to be taken to ensure it survives, evolves and flourishes?

KJ: Going from idea to business requires an understanding of how to build a business. It’s just that easy. There’s a massive gap between people with idea’s and people with skills to execute those ideas. So the key is the develop the skills. There are a lot of skills required to execute a business idea, but some of the most important are finance (probably #1), marketing, legal, accounting, HR, and development. Of course you can hire talent to fill some of the necessary skill sets, but I have never met a successful entrepreneur that hadn’t acquired ninja skills across all of the most important areas of business execution. In fact, I think it’s required that you develop the proper skills so that early on you can do things yourself and later on you can step in if necessary to hold staff accountable or to do their job if they aren’t.

How do you find your competitive advantage and make an idea/entity so unique that it cannot be copied?

KJ: It’s all about brand. People don’t buy things – they buy how those things make them feel.

 I think you’d agree, most self-starters like yourself are forward thinking. On that note, what’s next for Kris?

KJ: As you know I founded a talent booking platform with actor / comedian Damon Wayans, Jr called Special Guest App. We are currently focusing most of our resources on the Greater Los Angeles market, but we intend to expand that considerably in 2018. I’m also excited about the growth of a two complementary businesses that are growing quickly – LSEO.com is a digital marketing company that I founded in 2014. It offers a range of growth marketing services, such as search-engine optimization, Google AdWords management, and social media management. APPEK Mobile Apps is a mobile and web development company that I cofounded back in 2011 that helps people build apps. In addition to these businesses I’m excited to continue to support the success of a range of technology investments I’ve made, speak at a few select conferences, and focus most of my time on making sure that Special Guest executes on its mission to democratize the booking and experience of LIVE entertainment.

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If you’d like to learn more about Special Guest, be sure to download the app here! For more personal development tips and tricks check out Kris’ “Ask Me Anything” series on Youtube!

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LA LA LA . . . D O N U T S.

“People who love to eat are always the best people.”

– JULIA C H I L D

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Guys, it’s National Donut Day. Boom. The day is officially upon us and I’m patiently waiting for LA to begin the next installment of the Museum of Ice Cream, feat. these golden lifesavers. In the meantime, I figured I’d do a quick round up of my top 5 spots to grab the classic bite in Los Angeles based on my own personal experiences.

In case the only donut run you get to today is devouring this rundown, I hope your sweet tooth’s itchin’ and we up your donut game. Not all donuts are created equal so let the sprinkles fall where they may. Without further ado, here’s the breakdown of my favorites donut joints in Los Angeles.

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(Note: I have not tried every shop discussed, nor have I sampled all their donuts, however the ones I have, I will mention along with my favorite donut I feel is worth dishin’ the dough on. Sources will be provided at the end if not my own opinion.)

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| THE OG C H A M P |

California Donuts 

My first memory of this California landmark began with a late night adventure with the kid, Mitchell. I had never tasted ye old Cali Donut and he was about to school ya girl. We rolled up at maybe 11 PM and the line was stupid long. We decided to pass but I must say, from that day on, I craved those suckers.

How can you crave something you’ve never had you say? By catching glimpses of the funky vintage sign and Lucky Charmed donuts, naturally. That did me in and I felt nostalgia instantly. This old school spot was worth the wait. I’ve since enjoyed a variety of their flavors from playful outings with friends to classic donut walls at weddings.

MAV FAV: The Fruit Loop

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| THE CREATIVE I N D I V I D U A L |

Donut Friend

I must say, there’s something truly special about Donut Friend. I’m not sure if it’s the unique flavors with DIY customization or the passion and story behind the brand. DF sets itself apart with its tongue in cheek appeal, using wit and humor to name their donuts after famous bands. On top of that, they made it all so easy to Insta the crap out of it – an equally addictive “Supermassive Black Donut Hole.” (Ha, that’s my best attempt).

Then there’s the matcha. Game over – favorite flavor in the whole wide world, hands down. When you nail it, you got me 100%. Donut Friend, you do it, you do it so well. Top that with some freeze dried raspberry dust and call it a day….

MAV FAV: Green Teagan and Sara

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| THE C R O W D PLEASER |

SK Donuts & Croissants

Ah the good ‘ol donut birthday cake. This year I was surprised with a box full of SK’s from my girls. Low-key, I wanted to try each and every one myself. I somehow found the will power to share – a huge improvement from the time I had a whole confetti b-day cake to myself circa 2006). Ya, that happened.

Besides the point, I did sample many of their flavors and must say, they’re all winners. This is definitely a great option if you have a large crowd and a variety of tastes to cater to.

MAV FAV: Blueberry Glazed 

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| THE H E A L T H NUT |

Donut Farm

Similar in name but most certainly unique, Donut Farm packs a powerful and healthy punch. Not only do they serve all vegan donuts but they’re also on the food grind too. Their dough is certified organic and is made from scratch daily. It wouldn’t be LA if they weren’t using coconut milk for their glazes, which yes they are.

When given the opportunity I am super excited to sink my teeth into that Coconut Whiteout or their Lemon Poppeyseed. I mmmmmean, probably going to indulge in both, who we kiddin’.

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| ON MY L I S T |

Sidecar

(might see me thurrrr tonight, skrttt skrrrt).

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| CREATIVE DIRECTION + STYLING |

Morgan Ryan 

Fit: Dress Shirt: J.Crew | Dress, Vans + Trench: Crossroads Trading | Tiffany & Co Rose Gold Frames from Fairfax Optical Lab

| PHOTOGRAPHY |

Jordan Zobrist

| MAKE UP |

Emily Gruen

| HAIR |

Kelly De La Cerda

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SOURCES

| HAWAIIAN H E R I T A G E |

“From a small seed a mighty trunk may grow.” 

– A E S C H Y L U S

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Ever since I could remember, I’ve been visualizing. As a young girl in elementary school, I used to be the last person to finish reading. I blame my creative mind, which would wander to exciting places mid-sentence (side note: still happens). The only spot I truly loved was the art room – probably because it was the only place I felt I belonged. The time I spent daydreaming and visualizing was welcomed here.

With anything in life, I realize it’s not all daydreams (although I wish it was). It’s vision combined with hard work that brings what you want into being. Strangely enough, with any accomplishment I’ve made, it’s through a balance of activity and inactivity. Many times what appears to be inactivity, is in fact is very active after all. Taoist refer to this as Wu Wei, and in this case, I call it active visualization. Let me explain…

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Whenever I feel stuck, I pause, reflect and visualize. I’ve always been an advocate for vision boards. Not strictly for its artistic nature, but because it focuses energy and attention on the passion at hand. Love, fitness, career, whatever it may be, it helps the mind ‘go there,’ thus stimulating that dreamer we all have within.

In the midst of all the moving pieces of my career right now, which I’m extremely grateful for, I’ve had little time for inactivity. Feeling more pressure than before, I began to think, what’s next? As a result, I’ve negatively begun to doubt my creativity and the future. As dreamers, we should welcome if not anticipate the thought of what could be. In truth, I was running from the very person I am. When I slowed down to realize this, I knew I needed to take time some time out. I did just that in a rather unconventional way; when things picked up, I slowed down.

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There’s a method to my madness. When you’re speeding ahead, you fail to catch the glimpse of the pretty house along the street you’ve never explored. You overlook the excerpt in a book that will inspire your next project. In slowing down, you find everything you need. You’re re-inspired. Thus I found a way to combine my work with my passions.

As I prepped for my Mane Addicts Instastory Takeover (<- click for a highlight), I applied my new found knowledge to social media. The weeks leading up the gig, I used my account to play and test new ideas. Not only was this personally fulfilling, it also left me reassured I could do my best when it came time to take over their account. In fact this methodology helped me successfully accomplish my immediate goal (hitting over 9,000 impressions) while I created a road map for future ones. One of those destined ventures being Hawaii. The idea: reconnecting to the source.

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When I initially dug up information on the Awapuhi Farm and Nature Retreat, my ears were ringing, “ready, set, location, shoot!” For years now, I’ve had the reoccurring vision of being on a remote island, sourcing ingredients and creating botanical/herbal products. One thing many people don’t know about me is that I turn to natural remedies and concoct my own beauty products.

Ayurveda or life science, has always been a secret passion of mine. It became more prevalent in my life when I was diagnosed with ADHD. After years of taking medication, I desired a more long term and natural solution. Thus, I begun to self-educate myself on nutrition and natural means of healing. When I realized this ‘ailment’ made me special not slow, I began to use it creatively to my benefit. That’s when the holistic healer kicked in and I hope one day to help others heal and reach total wellness too.

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When I learned Awapuhi Wild Ginger was born and sourced in Pa’auilo, Hawaii, I saw the initial blending of my two worlds; the muse meets the the healer. I saw myself there, exploring the nature, science and culture of this area. I saw me hosting, traveling, educating, and most of all, learning through personal experiences. Clearly, the passion alarm went off.

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of taking the first step in that direction. In attending the Paul Mitchell Innovation Center in Santa Clarita, I learned all about the Awapuhi line. It was invigorating to be educated on a product I use often and is rooted in Hawaiian culture. The herbalist in me enjoyed hearing about the ingredients and putting a face to the scientists in the lab. To see the work that goes into perfecting and delivering a product into the hands of the consumer was something special to experience.

Later that afternoon I left feeling all the hope in the world. In fact, I used the positive energy of the day as an opportunity to make my own slice of HI in CA. I made my way to Malibu and created an experience that one could equate to the Aloha State. The strange thing was, that weekend I truly believed a huge leap was made in the direction of that island. I felt one step closer towards actualizing that goal.

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I’ve always had this island dream and I always will. Who knows, maybe the dream is better than reality. What I do know is I will eventually realize this dream and find out one way or another for myself.

Aloha,

M

MAST Chocolate, Rihanna, Ruffles, Coral, Ri Ri, Street style, war, camo, diy fashion, playboy, dope hair, urban hair, texture hair, sneakerhead, architecture, vetements, hot pink, track jacket, marilyn monroe, braids, cornrows, unqiue hairstyles, urban trends, trendsetter, fashionista, la blogger, ootd, reebok, ZOKU RUNNER, new sneaker, colorful sneakers, maverick, dtla, athletic wear, hoops, snoop dog, urban, style blogger, personal style, reebok, champion,

R E E B O K | ON | THE BLOCK

(Note: I received the product mentioned in this post for free from Reebok. This post also contains tracking links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.)

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“Great acts are made up of small deeds.”

– LAO T Z U

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| P R E F A C E |

As many brands are jumping on the athleisure train, there’s one thing I note when determining which will make it into my wardrobe. First a great brand has to have a superb brand image. Secondly, they must remain true to who they are in an ever-changing landscape, evolving with the times. The first is easy if you have good creatives behind you. The second, well that takes some practice and self-awareness.

The ability to keep the brand identity while looking forward is a feat many struggle with. A few that come to mind that successfully balance the two are Nike, Adidas and Victoria’s Secret. One brand that didn’t originally dawn on me was Reebok, which now is in my top five. If I’ve learned anything from this brand, it’s to go beyond your comfort zone.

In the past when I heard Reebok, I instantly imagined an older women wearing comfort sneakers; you know, the granny steeze. Clearly I had discounted the brand who has made major improvements and adjustments since the late 90’s. It wasn’t until I caught wind of their “Be More Human” campaign that I was re-introduced to the brand and their unique messaging. Then came the launch of their new design, the ZOKU RUNNER. Needless to say, I was sold.

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| MORE ABOUT THE B R A N D |

The American-inspired global brand is known for their sports and lifestyle products. Built upon a strong heritage and authenticity in sports, fitness and women’s categories, Reebok’s history and values run deep. They are dedicated to providing each and every ‘athlete’ – professional or recreational- with the opportunity, products and inspiration to achieve their full potential. Much like my own personal beliefs, Reebok champions that we’re all worthy of pursuing and achieving greatness.

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| NEW ERA, SAME HERITAGE |

Drawing inspiration from the Reebok Classic designs of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, the ZOKU RUNNER nails it by fusing the brand’s rich heritage with advanced design. I have a thing for brands that go beyond the surface. One way to achieve this is through symbolism and deep intentional meaning. The ZOKU RUNNER does just that by paying homage to the Japanese translation of Zoku, which means ‘to be continued’ or ‘to be part of a tribe.’

The ZOKU RUNNER, a descendant of the original Classic, celebrates the continuation through its modernized and updated silhouette. Crafted with ULTRAKNIT material, a superior digital knitting technology, the ZOKU RUNNER has a sock like feel and futuristic fashion appeal. Wearing it through out the whole shoot, the comfort was undeniable, which now I know is due to the seamless knit upper and heathered materials. It’s breathable, lightweight and extremely comfortable. On top of it all, the technology reduces material waste.

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| THE B A C K S T O R Y |

Sometimes we justify discomfort for superficial reasons. After experiencing a back injury that left me inactive for about a month, I now consider many factors when purchasing a shoe. For instance, long-term comfort and support comes first and foremost. Then style and design. If it can provide all the above, even better. I kid you not, the ZOKU RUNNER is one of the most modern in terms of style and technology and the most comfortable shoe I own.

After this injury I also began to take note of other things that could act as a factor for poor back health. I looked straight to my everyday tote. Most of us girls throw any and everything into one big bag, which we lug around all day. Sounds great for your back, I know. This in and of itself could be considered a workout, a safe one? Not so much.

Initially, what I loved most about this pair of shoes was how light they were. I threw them in my bag on my way to the gym and barely noticed I had been carrying them. For most of us “on-the-go” women, we go from one thing to the next. Luckily this shoe works with you not against you, allowing you to move freely without weighing (or slowing) you down.

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| SHOE SPECS|

– One piece knit upper for a lightweight, sock-like fit

– Low-cut design for a sleek and sophisticated silhouette

– DMX Lite midsole cushions for a superior feel

– Heathered upper

– High abrasion rubber outsole for traction and durability

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Click here to buy the ZOKU RUNNER.

___________________________

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+ MEET THE TEAM +

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| CREATIVE DIRECTION |

Morgan Ryan

| PHOTOGRAPHY |

Jordan Zobrist

| HAIR |

Tina Greene

| STYLING |

Johnny Escaray

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GET RICH OR DYE TRYIN’

“Sacred success means pursuing your soul’s purpose for your own bliss and the benefit of others, while being richly rewarded.”

B A R B A R A STANNY

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With Spring Equinox and Aries season upon us, the time to refresh and re-create is here. That being said, what better time than the first day of spring, to implement something new and beneficial in our lives! Here are 5 simple ways to create abundance in your life. Let’s step into spring with a re-purposed purpose, living lives we love:

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1. Get Quiet or Take A Retreat

I recently decided to write to my friends on Facebook how I was feeling in a moment of presence. It read something like “we all out here making a name for ourselves, grinding. I get it. Idk ’bout you, but sometimes I don’t make time for others, or I shut them out. As of lately I feel like I’m more sensitive to this and the real importance of setting aside time for others.” I was amazed by the long lost friends who responded wanting to get together and reconnect, as well as the kindred spirits who mentioned they’ve been feeling the same.

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2. Hang with Kindred Spirits

Something so essential but easily disregarded was overlooked in my foggy mind. Human connection. I can honestly say this month I realized the importance of setting aside adequate time to retreat, quiet the mind and surround myself with loved ones. This allows one to listen to what the body’s trying to tell you while bringing divine inspiration to conversation. If I didn’t slow down, I would’ve overlooked many things that have recently led to my favorite ah-ha moments. 

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3. Harness Your Female Energy

After a back injury that left me pretty much immobile, I was forced to pause and reflect on why I stood here, motionless. My untamable masculine energy kept telling my mind you’re strong, keep going. I pushed, over-extended and injured myself because I was too busy ‘doing ‘and not allowing the wise feminine energy to move through me. True feminine power is when you know who you are, what you want and unapologetically express that to the world!

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4. What’s Your Purpose?

I found a few months ago I was placing my focus in all the wrong places. I loved what I was doing but my purpose behind which had deterred to profit. I got lost in the numbers game that is social media. The very goal I set out with was to be great while helping others achieve greatness. For my birthday this month, I got away to the Sequoia’s. By getting back to nature and pausing, I was reminded of the original me, helping me to move away from profit to purpose. 

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5. Embrace Your Fears

I recently began talking on the phone with a high school friend. I sat and listened to him recall all his recent struggles and the traveling he did in attempt to find his purpose. One thing he mentioned was knowing all along who he was and what he was meant to be. He realized he became afraid of his own greatness. This hit home for me as well, as I’ve been self-destructive at times. Hearing him said that healed me as I’m sure it helped heal him. 

Key to Success for spring: Explore your fears. Successful, confident or working towards it, we all struggle with self-doubt and fear. The only difference here in becoming successful is allowing oneself to feel the fear and run towards it anyway. So be a warrior. Don’t be afraid of your greatness. Harness it!

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So I leave you with this…what’s keeping you from being great?

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All photos taken by Morgan Ryan.

Shot around East Los Angeles and The Getty.

For a more in depth look at cultivating abundance this Spring, click here to listen to the full Podcast via Astrostyle.

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I AM ________.

I AM….whatever I say I am. 2017 is the year of self-definition…or perhaps un-definition. I realized that as much as words supply meaning they also confine. In the purest form, we must create ourselves, our own opinions and then voice them. Sometimes that’s a matter of standing tall in our truth, letting it be known who we are without uttering a word. However, when we do decide to speak, let us speak kindness and love. Let us be impeccable in all we do. Most of all, let us be impeccable with our word.

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I AM ______.

          strong

      courageous

        tenacious

  ever-evolving

              loving.

goofball, dance, freak flag,

Fill in the blank, or don’t. That’s your choice. Sometimes words can’t even begin to describe the totality of our thoughts, feelings or perhaps our existence. If you had to choose a few words to describe yourself today, what would they be? Would they be kind and self-benefiting?

The fun thing about emotional strength is it’s ability to translate to all areas of our life. For example, our hair. In many cultures, hair is symbolic of one’s vitality and ‘spiritual strength.’ What if we looked at hair through this lens? Would the way we brush it or even style it change? Perhaps hair can be greater than a source of creative expression. Perhaps it can indicate how you show up in the world beyond appearances.

When our hair is strong and healthy, it reflects the strength we know we have inside. The Paul Mitchell’s Super Strong® line rebuilds hair from within, improving texture while keeping strands shiny and soft. Beyond that, it shield hair from damaging UV rays and is completely vegan, color-safe and paraben-free!

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Strong Look of the Month: 

SPACE BUNS + WINKS

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PREP:

Begin with clean, dry, straight hair. Cleanse with Super Strong® Daily Shampoo and condition with Super Strong® Daily Conditioner (shop links below).

Create a middle part and divide hair into two separate high pony tails. Tie with soft elastic bands.

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Step 3: Twist each section into its own separate bun and secure with bobby pins.

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secure, bobby pins,

Step 4: Get out there and rock and shine (you _______ babe you!)

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| SHOP THIS LOOK |

Super Strong® Duo Set | Ouchless Elastic Hair Ties | Assorted Bobby Pins

| FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHY |

Mark Sacro Morgan Ryan (BTS)

Preppy, Perfect Blow Out, Penny Loafers, Leica, Military Jacket, Polka Dots, J. Crew, Turtle Neck, Film, Black and White Photography, Pearls, Classic Style, Style Icons, BCBG, BCBG Maxazria, Headband, Vintage Style, All Black, Chic Outfits, OOTD, Outfit Blogger, Style Blogger, Daily Outfits, Accessories, Los Angeles Blogger, How To Style A Turtle Neck, Women's Fashion, Fashion and Style, What I wore, What to Wear, Streetstyle, Handbags, How to Style a scarf, How to rock Vintage, Vintage Finds, Recycled Fashion,

S I M P L Y BEAUTIFUL

“The things we reject tend to be colored by fear. Those grown from love will flourish.”

– MORGAN R Y A N

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I took a deep breath in as I observed my surroundings. What a sight Los Angeles has become. Before the rainfall, this city had lost a bit of its luster in my honest opinion. Now I feel as though I’m experiencing one of the most beautiful moments since I first moved to California. I had to stop mid-walk to really absorb this momentary time. This story is about finding inner peace with impermanence.

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I held my breath as I looked around. I was in awe because I thought I was just transported to Austria. The sky had not a cloud in it. The mountains stood majestic with snow-capped tips, which blended into the clear blue skyline. Just beyond the peaks lay layers of green hillsides that varied in shade.

The iconic landscape from “The Sound of Music,” rolled through my mind and I couldn’t help but smile as my thoughts amused me. I hoped Julie Andrews would pop out of no where, twirling me around aimlessly like in the movie. Much like Andrews chimes in the familiar song, I go to the hills when my heart’s lonely.

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I spent this past weekend in solitude. Something I do often but always yearn for more of. This time I redecorated my apartment and entertained some of my innermost dreams. The Aquarius New Moon occurred this past weekend, which also marked the Chinese Lunar New Year. Living on the outskirts of Chinatown, I heard firecrackers going off all weekend. This added a kick of energy that ironically foreshadowed the energy of this year’s sign, the Fire Rooster. I felt the desire to take action while the Aquarian vibes got me in touch with my deepest desires.

FLOWING WITH THE NATURAL ENERGY AT WORK: 

I. Write out your goals + dreams

II. Release something

III. Feng shui a room

V. Root and ground

VI. Do something communal

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I.

Friday night I wrote out 6 goals to achieve in the next 6 months. Some were travel related, career/money focused or beauty inspired. I placed them next to my agate rock, hoping it would magnify their energy and ability to come into fruition. In two days I checked off one of those goals! I’m a bit superstitious but clearly it worked for me.

One of my major dreams is to have my own live/work space. Last week was the ideal time to work with this goal as I had my two bedroom apartment to myself. This really gave me the opportunity to soak it all in; what it would truly feel like to have a place I call my own. To experience it to the fullest I took it a step further; I redecorated to my liking to see what it would look like, making it an active visualization.

I arranged mason jars filled with my seeds and spices above my stove. Placed plants throughout my living room. Dried flowers from my cupboards doors and did yoga in the living room while burning incense. For the entire week, I slept sound and woke refreshed. I found the true definition of freedom is found in the little things.

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  II.

 In college I randomly began calling my room the ‘Zen Den.’ It’s stuck ever since. That being said, one of my favorite interests is using artistic decoration as a form of energy healing or redirection. For lack of a better words most would refer to this as feng shui. I’ve always desired to switch up and refresh my room with new arrangement every so often. I’ve noticed it helped with the movement of energy within my space and my physical well-being.

This desire to feng shui tends to happen in line with new chapters of my life, or in this case, new moons. Besides bringing me joy, it has also aided me in the process of letting go. The Tao Te Ching says, “when we know when enough is enough, there will always be enough.” Much like art, this process works on the idea of impermanence; something that is born to be destroyed. Think of fresh flowers. They bring fresh energy to a room but only for so long.

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III.

I tend to grow attached to things. My art, people, things, did I mention my art? Every time I must say goodbye I lament. (Side note: That’s probably where my nostalgia stems from). However I’ve become wiser and realized every goodbye allows for a fresh hello. A constant offering of a blank slate, now that’s my jam.

Next up was a space that felt stale, my bathroom. I added some energy with a sprig of fresh flowers and some bamboo. My second reaction was to throw something away. One thing led to another and eventually I was throwing out a handful of old products that had expired. I saw items that had accumulated dust and that simply irritated me. That was my cue that it was time to go. According to the Tao, by decluttering we simplify. By simplifying, we create greater power and peace by choosing beauty, order and health.

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IV.

After this creative jaunt, I wanted to get outside for some fresh air. It was as though clearing out my material life had made room for more physical health. I felt this spaciousness within, an unbound freeness. I wanted to fill this newfound space with something new. I was reminded of my favorite park I used to frequent every day when I first moved to LA. The trails were calling my name.

I was shocked how much it changed since I last visited. ‘Simply Beautiful’ by Al Green played through my headphones and I felt the emotion of those lyrics as I looked out over the improved landscape I once called my stomping grounds. The pathways were now lined with clover and grass that reached to my mid-calf. I sat down in it and closed my eyes and just breathed. I felt grounded. I felt present. I felt re-aligned. In just an hour, I was re-connected to earth and my purpose.

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V.

On Sunday, I attended a charity event organized by my friend, Brooke. Brooke is a fellow PM Insider and blogger who has dedicated her purpose to giving back. She hosted a beautiful wine tasting and food pairing that creatively raised awareness for some of her favorite charities. Dedicated to pertinent issues such as child hunger and autism, we learned about the love these brands are spreading around the world.

With conscious brands such as This Bar, Cheeky and One Hope, it inspired me to learn about brands and how they’re making a difference but more so, how I could be making a difference with everyday decisions. Oh btw, they’re all DELICIOUS! If you’re interested in healthy snack options, delicious wine or simply ways to do good, check out these sites!

CHEEKY

THIS BAR

ONE HOPE WINE

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How do you spend your weekends? Do you hope to give back or live in more alignment? Tell me in the comments below. I would love to get to know you and your inner most desires!

Xx,

M

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| SHOP THIS L O O K |

  Military Jacket | Turtleneck | White Jeans | Penny Loafers | HeadbandPaul Mitchell Tool

| FEATURED P H O T O G R A P H Y |

Nat Sin 

| FEATURED L O C A T I O N |

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