LA models, self help, I am, I Am Collection, The giving Keys, Pay It Forward, Positive Affirmations, Jewelry Brand, Los Angeles Born, Space Buns, LA fashion blogger, Gratitude Journal, All Black, Holistic Habits, Morning Rituals, Mantras,

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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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

 

| BRAND |

T H E  G I V I N G  K E Y S

 

| PHOTO |

S T E V E  E R L E 

 

 

 

 

 

 

| 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

cute, ham, cutesy, model, bts, behind-the-scenes, photo shoot, Bloomingdales, shopping, layering clothes, winky face, back to school, fashion blogger, updo, auburn hair, unique styles, i am, strong, spirituality, hair and spirituality, hair tutorial, redhead, pigtails, space buns, paul mitchell, pm insiders, quirky style, cute hair, hairstyle ideas, hairstyles, hair influencer, beauty influencer, la fashion bloggers, white shirt, studio shoot, natural makeup, fashion and style, maverick, muse,

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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artsy, cute, ham, cutesy, model, bts, behind-the-scenes, photo shoot, Bloomingdales, shopping, layering clothes, winky face, back to school, fashion blogger, updo, auburn hair, unique styles, i am, strong, spirituality, hair and spirituality, hair tutorial, redhead, pigtails, space buns, paul mitchell, pm insiders, quirky style, cute hair, hairstyle ideas, hairstyles, hair influencer, beauty influencer, la fashion bloggers, white shirt, studio shoot, natural makeup, fashion and style, maverick, muse,

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)

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| CRYSTAL LAKE |

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I ascend in delight

where the heaviness looms,

and spirits they lift

atop a misty cliff

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An inverted fog

you engulf me in,

a view so unclear

as I watch you disappear

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In the golden valley below

the skies open up,

to taste your sweet tear

oh, the melody I’ll hear

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I followed where you led

upon water cast thy bread,

a vision crystal clear,

in the reflections of my fear

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Waited a long time

to have you by my side,

it was a hell of a ride

though we’ve reached the end of our tide

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There’s something so majestic

about a biblical sky,

to pierce velvet skin

and harden the bone within

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Where thoughts of you lead

 the layers reveal,

indigo hillsides

 so pure and wide

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In a technicolor dream

we ignite with desire

 where greenery’s on fire,

and you are my rectifier.

_________

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GET THIS LOOK:

Jacket | Shirt | Pants | Creepers | Gloves | Lipstick

. . .

| CREATIVE DIRECTION |

Morgan Ryan & Evan Woods for SCHAI 

| FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER |

Evan Woods

| FEATURED MUSE + STYLING |

Morgan Ryan

| FEATURED MUA |

Emily Gruen using MAC Cosmetics

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COLOR P A L E T T E

“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. ”

-OSCAR W I L D E

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It’s that time of year for feasting and festivities. As 2016 comes to an end, so do our healthy habits (at least for me). Hey, with cookies that good you’re better off eating them than letting them go to waste (solid justification). That being said, here are a few of my favorite things that are simple, colorful and best of all, comfortable!

If you couldn’t tell by my daily Instagram stories, I’ve been influenced by pastels quite a bit this season. In particular, sherbet tones. It all started after I had a delicious dessert after dinner at the Sunset Tower Hotel in LA. I know, not your average color palette for the red and green or gold and blue holiday. Never the less, still a pretty combo to look at (and eat) if you ask me!

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Here are a few of my holiday to do’s:

Take pleasure in the little things

Don’t guilt trip yourself

Take in all the amazing aromas

Bend your diet a little

Add some dazzle

Get in a good view

LIVE A LOT

🙂

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wacko, wacky, pastels, artistic shots, vsco, lifestyle blogger, sherbet, blue skies, look up, shop local, cool shops in la,

Keep shining ya wacko,

M

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| SHOP MY LOOK |

Above Image: MK Hoop EarringsPaul Mitchell Curling Rod | Nars Lipstick 

Into Image: Top Image:  Color Block Jacket | Prada Sunglasses for FREE! -> Click here for one month free Ditto subscription when you use code: MAVERICK

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|| P L A N B ||

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

– JOHN L E N N O N

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It was a cool October evening in Los Angeles — not quite summer, not quite fall. The sun began to dip behind the industrial buildings that lined the streets of Downtown. As it transitioned from day to night, I began to contemplate the irony of my day ‘on-set.’ I use the term loosely as I tend to shoot with other unconventional artists who embody a similar relaxed approach and finesse. Similarly, we thrive in the fluid and somewhat chaotic unexpectedness of ‘the streets.’

Out here, you can never be entirely sure of what you’re going to get. I guess you could say the same about life. Then again, life imitates art. With that being said, I will preface with the following; this is a story about a plan gone awry. If you can roll with the punches and maybe even color outside the lines, you’ll arrive exactly where you need to be. Somewhere I call PLAN B.

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|| P L A N  A ||

Plan A involved something like this: A classic Bardot outfit against a french inspired street cafe scene. What we got? A 180 of everything I just said. Well, I was never one to believe in Murphy’s Law. I did however always find comfort in the quote by Lennon, “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

What I think Lennon’s stressing is the importance of being flexible and not resisting life’s plans. As humans, we like structure and predictability to feel secure. Becoming best friends with uncertainty and letting life flow are personal skills worth developing. You may even recall some of your fondest memories happened to be a result of fate or the unexplainable.

With that being said, here we go:

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When I began to style a look for my shoot with Ashlyn, I had my head rigidly wrapped around a classic Brigitte Bardot look. Problem was, I couldn’t seem to pull it off with my current wardrobe. Slightly frustrated, I felt my ego creep in and fear began to manifest. I took the uncomfortable feeling as my cue to get quiet and become present. As I stared blankly into my color coordinated closet, a vibrant orange number caught my eye.

I reached for the piece out of curiosity having almost forgotten I owned it. I pulled it out to reveal a 70’s vintage lounge dress in mint condition. I must’ve bought it on one of my thrifting expeditions. As I held it overhead, examining at arms length, I wondered why I had not worn it yet? I threw it on and realized two things:

1. I loved the design and fabric

2. I hated the fit

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|| P L A N  B ||

So I did what I knew best under such circumstances; I performed a quick (and painless) surgery. I began to re-imagine it. I figured if things go wrong, so be it. If things go right, so be it. And with a few quick snips of my orange Fiskars, I was now the proud owner of a 70’s duster. Excitement rushed over me and without second thought, I threw it on over top my current outfit; a pair of Levi’s and a long-sleeved blouse.

I looked at my reflection in awe, not because of my amazing craftsmanship (because clearly I could use help in that department) but because of the overall look. A strange approach to layering now made complete sense. It was unconventional, funky and best of all, it was me. I’ve learned that mistakes are at times more helpful than harmful.

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I met up with Ashlyn just outside the ETO building. We originally had a spot mapped out but much like my original look, it ceased to exist. We walked up to a cafe in a hidden alley illuminated by string patio lights. The gates were locked. In that moment, I heard my dad’s best impersonation of John Candy in National Lampoon’s Vacation echo in my mind, “Sorry folks, park’s closed.” Ashlyn and I look at each other with an encouraging c’est la vie glance and carry on into the unknown.

As we turn the corner, we begin our adventure surprised as we find a bushel of strawberries randomly placed on the sidewalk. The strange encounter made us both laugh and we continued on. I felt as though it was almost placed there for us, a free prop! About 15 feet later, Ashlyn says “Actually, I think I wanna use those.” Without further notice, I pivoted and marched back with a assertive “you read my mind.”

John Lennon, Muse, Imagine, Strawberry Fields Forever, Duster, Accessories, Los Angeles Blogger, OOTD, OOTD sharing, Outfit Blogger, Women's Fashion, Fall Fashion, What I Wore, Outfit Ideas, Maverick of Fashion, 70's, Straw Hat, Mac Cosmetics, Layering, Artist and Muse, Levi's 511, Levi Jeans, Boyfriend Jeans, Re-imagine a dress, DIY duster, thrifting, fashion on a budget,

I learned something plain and simple from this entire experience; strawberries are always a good idea. Well, that and sometimes the so called roadblocks are just opportunities to embrace life; to allow life to redirect you instead of you directing it. Sometimes Plan B can be just as sweet if not sweeter than Plan A.

Without making mistakes, we may never explore new terrain or innovate new things. Instead of forcing our free will, we could use it wisely to choose between a life run by ego or a life in tune with a higher intelligence.

As life continues to surprise me and push my boundaries, I’ll make a better point of allowing. Perhaps you may see for yourself that coloring outside the lines is no mistake at all. Perhaps in falling outside the predetermined box, you create a new street worth exploring. For yourself and others.

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| FEATURED O U T F I T |

Nordstrom Rack, Straw Hat | dRA Blouse | Levi’s, 511 | Steve Madden Holllly Sneaker in Camel Suede | JCPenny Lounge Dress, (cut into duster) Goodwill

Styled by Morgan Ryan

 | FEATURED P H O T O G R A P H Y |

Ashlyn Kudransky

France, Parisian Style, Blogger, Maverick, Muse, Fashion Illustration, Beauty, Brigitte Bardot, Fashion Icon, Muse, Bows, Ribbons, Cameras, Iconic Images, Pig Tails, Bouffant, Cat-Eye Liner, Halloween, Lookbook

| LES F E M M E S |

Every age can be enchanting, provided you live within it.”

-BRIGITTE B A R D O T

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As another Halloween rolls by, I take time to pause and reflect on this special holiday. To me, every day is an occasion to play and experiment with transformation. What keeps me excited is being able to channel a certain characteristic and infuse that with my personal style. To repurpose is to make the old fresh again, and to me that’s magic.

I was recently reminded by a dear friend of the Oscar Wilde quote, “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” This poses an interesting topic during a holiday which encourages us to wear masks. Perhaps masks support, providing a protective barrier so we can drop all inhibitions and allow our true spirits to shine. Or perhaps we hide behind them. Whichever you relate to more, there’s no denying that we’re all a little liberated when we play dress up.

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We all live our lives differently by choice. My choice is to encourage others to be comfortable with who they are. Strangely enough I find comfort in taking on different aspects of my life experiences. Every person, place and conversation I come across ultimately become a part of me and my next phase. It’s always fun to see where I’m at come October when the ‘transformation spotlight’s’ on and everyone’s watching.

I learned something about myself from this holiday: I don’t plan. It wasn’t until a few days before Halloween that I came up with my costume (same with last year). I never go out of my way to buy anything, nor do I force a costume. I simply work with what’s presented and currently influencing me. This year I’d been heavily influenced by Paris. It seemed everywhere I turned, all roads led to Paris. Last month I had also become interested in learning more about Old Hollywood and it’s fashion icons.

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A week before Halloween I attended a beauty event in Downtown. As I got ready I thought my hair was naturally falling into the classic Bardot bouffant. I went with it as I tied in a black ribbon. Strangely enough I had never seen one of her films nor had I begun to learn much about her. Regardless, I was undoubtedly influenced by her beauty from day one as I’ve been known to rock an occasional bow or two.

At the event they had a fashion illustrator doing beauty portraiture’s. That’s when it all clicked. As I sat down with the artist, Regina, she began to fluidly painted out the shape of my bow. Then she proceeded to the soft volume of my hair. She filled in the waves of my ruffled, off-the-shoulder top, (which I now know is referred to as a Bardot top), added some thick cat-eyed liner and two pillowy pink lips. She looks up at me for the final touches and says, you look very Parisian tonight. In that moment I realized I was channeling Brigitte and the DJ cued up his music from a brief pause. His choice? French music (I kid you not).

And so it was decided…

Ms. Bardot it was.

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Halloween has and will always be one of my favorite holidays ~ for any day which encourages you to embrace whoever or whatever you wish (with zero judgement) is a symbol for pure freedom.

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THAT’S SOME BUN, HUN.

“Appreciation is an excellent thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us, as well.”

-V O L T A I R E

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I had the pleasure of working in studio at the Paul Mitchell HQ with an exceptional team this year. The individuals involved were passionate, dedicated, thoughtful and precise in execution. This is something I truly appreciate as a creative. There was an undeniable sense of collaboration and zeal that filled the room. We were all there with a similar mission: to create art.

I seem to fall in love time and time again with the creatives involved in the transformation as well as the look itself. The rose bud braid—a romantic, seemingly intricate half-up ’do is actually easier than it looks and a whole of a lot safer, sans the prickly thorns. Perfect for date night or ideal for you brides-to-be. Here’s how to best achieve the look!

| ROSE BUN TUTORIAL |

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I.

First, apply Sculpting Foam™ to clean, damp hair from roots to ends. This gives the look a perfect foundation and helps it last and last. 

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II.

Comb through and blow-dry.

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III.

Use your favorite smoothing iron to create natural-looking waves and dimension (this summer we’re crushing on the limited edition Beauty in Bloom Express Ion Smooth®+). Create natural waves by simply twisting the smoothing iron as you move through each section of hair.

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IV.

Gather the hair above your ears with a sculpting brush and secure a small ponytail at the back of your head with a clear elastic.

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V.

Take the ponytail and build a loose braid from top to bottom and secure with another clear elastic.

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VI.

Wrap the braid around the base of your ponytail, gently pinching and pulling as you go, and secure with bobby pins. For a more polished final look, keep the braid tight, and your bun neat and symmetrical.

Finally, set the look with your favorite flexible hairspray (we’re digging Hold Me Tight™ for this look). and in a couple of minutes you’ve created a beautiful, feminine look that will attract loads of attention.

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Get ya hands on the Limited Edition ProTools used here.

Helpful Tools & Products: Smoothing Iron Sculpting Foam™ | Hold Me Tight™ | Sculpting Brush | Clear Elastics | Bobby pins

| EDITOR | Wendy Herman | HAIR STYLING | Tiffany Mae | ART DIRECTION | Stephanie Voves | MUSE | Morgan Ryan | PHOTOGRAPHER | Mark Sacro | BEAUTY | Valerie Hernandez |

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BEAUTY IN B L O O M

As summer winds down and the LA heat surges on, I felt what better time than now to talk skincare, hydration and protection. Whatever the season, there’s always a reason to protect and repair.

PRESS PLAY.

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I have vivid memories of watching my mom wash her face at her vanity and applying an assortment of gold-capped creams in various shapes and sizes. Whether she realized it or not, her nightly ritual undoubtedly set the tone for me at a formative age to care for my skin. This was my first memory of beauty as well as learning from someone who led by example.

It’s safe to say beauty has always grabbed my attention. As I’ve grown, my definition of beauty has evolved with my experiences, which have shaped my affinity for the elusive concept. A newer understanding that came with maturity was the notion of a beautiful mind. I often look to nature for answers. Like a rose in full bloom, life has taught me through the temporary and ever changing essence of evolution, that external beauty can only last so long. In order to endure and find lasting beauty, we must go beyond the bottle, beyond the facade to the root.

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Having experienced problematic skin this year for the first time ever, I was blatantly faced with the duty to explore beauty deeper than skin. Where this journey began was with the external. Because let’s face it, as humans we care about the physical. This idea of ‘keeping up appearances’ intrigued me. I sought to understand humanity and why we’re so quick to find resolve in a bottle before doing the true work of checking in with ourselves to see what gives.

With patience, diligence, positive habits and the help of a few good brands, I can tell you I’ve begun a healing journey to natural beauty rooted in nature. I’m positive I’m not alone, as I’ve talked to numerous people dealing with similar skin issues. So lets jump into part one of a series dedicated to skin care, health and beauty, working our way from the outside in by peeling back the layers.

Introducing my quick fix saviors that understand the importance of results without forgoing your skin’s health. These bad gals go beyond the pretty packaging to deliver quality performances and optimal health with honest ingredients.

IMG_8364.JPGProducts shot and digitally designed by Morgan Ryan. (Left to right).

MDSolarSciences, Mineral Creme (50 SPF)Regardless of your whereabouts, there’s always a need for SPF. Living in the outskirts of Chinatown in LA has posed some serious cultural conditioning in terms of skincare; like watching women shield their skin from the sun with umbrellas on the reg. Although I haven’t gone that extreme, I have upped my sunscreen game whilst learning a thing or two from these folk. 

MDSolarScience has got sunscreen down to a science, seriously. This cream is nearly perfect and speaks to all skin types and personalities (especially those wary of the typical SPF smell and finish). It’s oil-free/fragrance-free plus mineral/ antioxidant enriched to create the perfect base for your everyday look as it aims to repair and protect. I personally love to use it as my primer as it additionally creates a soft and smooth matte finish.

SheaMoisture, Jamaican Black Castor Oil:  Ah, restoration to the rescue! This powerhouse has been used for centuries because of its high concentration of Omega-9 fatty acids. I can tell you hands down, castor oil is my secret weapon in my beauty arsenal. Castor oil can be used alone, which I often do for an occasional scalp and eyelash treatment to promote growth. It can also be used in conjunction with other oils to create an oil cleanser for acne-prone skin (a recipe I’ll be sharing next time). Word of advice, a little goes a long way as it’s super drying.

SheaMoisture, Hydrating Mud Mask:  Typically I enjoy getting my hands dirty and concocting my own homemade masks. In those rare occasions where I need a quick treatment, this little guy has me covered. Plus anything travel size seems more fun than the original, or at least it does to me. (Mini M&M’s and fun size candy, I’m lookin’ at chu).

The scent is comprised of the healing aromas of shea butter, myrrh and frankincense. This trifecta comes together to create a rich blend that is soft and feminine. Despite most mud masks, this one doesn’t seem to harden like most, making it easy to remove with a damp washcloth. Skin is left smooth and supple with noticeable improvements in radiance and youthfulness.

SheaMoisture, Olive & Green Tea Body Wash (w/ Avocado)My grandma’s evening ritual was a lavender bubble bath. Apparently rituals run deep, as I’ve definitely acquired the habit of partaking in a regular epsom salt bath. My current obsession has been to elevate my experience by running a capful of SheaMoisture’s Olive & Green Tea Body Wash under running water. Skip the lotion; these ultra-moisturizing ingredients got you covered, every inch. 

That’s enough about me ~ what are some of your favorite skin care brands? I’d love to hear about your regime/journey to natural beauty in the comments below!

Photographed by Marc Sacro in partnership with John Paul Mitchell Systems

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| L U C K Y STRIKE |

“I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often.”

– BRIAN T R A C Y

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People call me lucky. Rightfully so, I fit the role with green eyes and red hair to match. If you were to ask me if I consider myself lucky, I would say yes because you’re as lucky as you choose to be. Luck is far more than looking the part or being at the right place at the right time. Much to the contrary, luck doesn’t fall out of thin air nor does it simply get handed to you. My favorite quote by Seneca says,“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Although it may look effortless, luck is something to be earned through creative action.

My college commencement speech was given by Mr. Hawk Koch, president of The Motion Picture Academy. He left my colleagues and I with an inspiring story about losing it all and how he managed to climb the ladder of success as a result. He placed an emphasis on creating your own luck, having fun and doing something memorable. The words that stuck with me most were, “In losing everything, I found the freedom to be fearless.”

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Looking back on it, I can see how much I’ve applied his advice; the most prominent being a mindset of “What do you have to lose?” Every day since graduation, I’ve dedicated my life to that of a living art. I’ve spent years preparing, practicing and expanding my skill set. As Hawk mentioned, you’ll come across a lot of situations that will stir up fear. What’s important is that you overcome it. To combat fear, I’ve continued to work on strengthening my intuition as a means to rely on instinct in difficult times.

I’ve taken many risks but the most memorable risk I took happened last October at Quixote Studios. A familiar face approached me and opened up a friendly conversation. Her name was Stephanie Kocielski. Little did I know, she would be the individual that would help me land the most influential moment of my blogging career thus far.

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Her personality matched her hair, vivacious and bold. Her presence was commanding. She had been to Quixote once before and instantly remembered me, although she jokingly said she didn’t recognize me at first without my bow. Regardless, she had a way of making me feel special. The first thing that came to mind was also the first thing I said, “Well, I’m kind of a chameleon, so I don’t blame you.” We began talking about transformation and styling and I felt comfortable around her. Naturally I felt compelled to connect.

Eventually she and her friend had to make their way back to work, so we said our goodbye’s for the time being. The moment she walked away, my inner critic said, ‘What were you waiting for?’ But my intuition fought back with assurance, ‘I’m just waiting for the right moment.’ It hadn’t dawned on me to take note of the set she was on until I looked up to notice the iconic words, PAUL MITCHELL. Now I knew why she had such an amazing personality to match her hair.

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The clock rang 2:00 pm, and I hadn’t a single opportunity for a one-on-one with Stephanie before my work day was over. I felt down on my luck, as if I missed my chance. I reasoned with myself that it wasn’t meant to be. At the very least I had the satisfaction that the Artistic Director and VP of Education for PAUL MITCHELL thinks I’m rad. But did you really think that was enough for me? Nope, I don’t give up that easy. I figured if she’s back tomorrow, it’s meant to be.

Tomorrow came around and low and behold, both PAUL MITCHELL and Stephanie were back again. First thing that morning, Stephanie came over to chat, this time by herself. We talked for five minutes or so and I knew it was time to create my own luck. It was time to strike.

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As the conversation began to wind down, I reached into my purse and pulled out a business card. I handed her one with a smile and felt instant synchronicity in her returned grin. She paused for a moment then followed with, “You know sometimes the world just has a way of bringing the right people together at the right time. We’re currently looking for brand influencers and I think you’d be perfect for this. Let me talk to our Brand Advocate Manager and I’ll put you two in contact.”

The rest was history. I jumped on the phone with Ang later that week and got the grand tour of the HQ the following month. She and I hit it off immediately; even over the phone I could tell she was warm, welcoming and kind. Strengthening my intuition has made my awareness keen and enabled me to tell when something’s right. I now understand the importance of recognizing how you feel before and after every interaction. I felt excited before speaking to Ang, and completely energized once we hung up. I immediately called my Mom to tell her the good news.

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It’s been smooth sailing ever since. This Spring I produced my first tutorial for Paul Mitchell. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity as well as the creative freedom they have provided me throughout the process! It’s truly amazing to see how everything has come full circle. One day I was tying a silk scarf into a quirky bow for fun and the next I’m professionally teaching others how to transform their look with my knowledge.

Long before any of my luck, I was paving the road to success so that when that day came, I was prepared. If it weren’t for my encounter with Stephanie or my fearless attitude, I wouldn’t be sharing this story today. It has been quite a journey, yet something tells me it’s far from over.

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| PHOTOGRAPHY |

Evan Woods

| STYLING & CREATIVE DIRECTION |

Morgan Ryan

| LOCATION |

Shot at Malibu Farm

Read Paul Mitchell’s version here.

Look achieved using PMYC Limited Edition Pro Tools.