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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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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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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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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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WOMEN’S MARCH | L O S A N G E L E S

“Well-behaved women rarely make history.”

-LAUREL T H A T C H E R ULRICH

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January in Los Angeles this year could be best described as a monsoon. Okay, maybe that’s a little hyperbolized. Nevertheless, we’ve had uncharacteristic amounts of rain this month. With our current drought-ridden situation, we’re quite consoled by the rainfall. As a result, LA has been refreshed with greenery resembling the Pantone color of the year. (Well-played M. Nature).

For instance, this week it’s rained 5 out of 7 days. Friday, it rained all day. Sunday, it rained all day. Saturday, well Saturday was sunny and warm. A crisp bite was in the air when you found yourself in the shade. Saturday, January 21st 2017 also marked the official Women’s March in Downtown Los Angeles. Little did we know, that in attending and showing our support, we would be a part of written history.

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It was as though the heavens supported our efforts by offering this momentary hiatus. The sun shined bright and wide on us all, while we marched and made hisherstory. We expected a large turnout, roughly 80,000 people. What we got was much much more. As we turned the corner we found ourselves among what seemed like half of LA. On that beautiful Saturday morning, Evan and I marched for the equal rights of all.

The drums and chants rhythmically surged through my soul like the beat of my own heart. In that moment, I felt my beat was one with everyone else’s. A sense of unity washed over me. I felt utter peace and the strength in numbers for the first time. What an unbelievable feeling it is to be connected to a passionate, fired up community and make history through peaceful action.

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Saturday I felt the power of LA surge through my soul as I marched through the heart of the city. I was amazed by the love that filled streets I’ve so often walked alone, with no purpose but my own. For me, that’s what made this all the more impactful, that shift from personal to universal; the coming together of ALL, united against hate.

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Submerged in mass energy, we made our way to the middle of the crowd. There was a positive peacefulness that filled the air. I felt extremely lifted. Like kinetic energy, we slowly ascended up the hills towards Grand Park. As we gained momentum, we gained energy and passion. The joy and love was undeniably infectious. Our spirits weren’t crushed, they were elevated. There was something so special about the day that we couldn’t stop reliving and talking about it.

The next morning we found out LA had an estimated 750,000 attendees alone. In DC, the turnout was 3 times the size of Trump’s inauguration the day before. With more than 3.7 million people (and still counting) that took part in Women’s Marches around the world, it’s safe to say we participated in one of the largest demonstrations in history. (Not bad for my first protest).

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On a micro scale, it was inspiring to see all the creative chants and posters people came up with. People speaking their mind and using their god-given creative gifts for the power of good. Simply incredible. In the downtime before the march began, I found myself scanning the crowd to understand what people were fighting for.

To me, given the circumstances, the artistry seemed to be ignited with fiery passion. Passion on fire is crazy and something I’ve experienced myself. In that way, regardless of our different lives and struggles, I felt their pain and fire. I felt harmony and compassion.

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As powerful as these moments look in photo, there’s something to be said about video. The true essence of this event was captured best in sound and movement. That being said, here’s a short compilation of my favorite clips recorded throughout the day.

 After seeing the numbers roll in yesterday, the message became clear: Numbers don’t lie, and never underestimate the strength of passion. This is just the beginning. We must keep the momentum for this fight is far from over. However, as this marks the beginning of 2017, we will be in for a year of history in the making.

Power on,

M

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CHANNEL orange

“To experience peace does not mean that your life is always blissful. It means that you are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of a hectic life.”

We all know that sinking feeling when things seemingly don’t go our way. I would imagine it feels quite similar to swimming upstream. Tell it to the girl who got her wisdom teeth pulled, the flu, as well as a flat tire in a week’s time. When it rains it pours (I write this as rain pounds the streets of Los Angeles).

Through these growing pains, a lesson can always be learned. Personally I learned rain is the ultimate cleanser…and we can’t control the flow. Nature will work it’s course, and we must ride the tide. We will arrive changed and in the grace of a peaceful sea, eventually, with some faith. Easier to say once the storm has settled.

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To me, in these trying times, the purpose seems to be the ultimate test of one’s faith, strength and character. We may not be in control of everything, but we are indeed in control of our perspective and reactions. That may seem minuscule but it’s truly liberating knowing that we may channel any negative circumstance into pure gold; or what I simply refer to as “transforming the mess into the message.”

We’ve all played the victim at one time or another. Why me? It’s his fault for cutting me off. I have bad luck and so on and so on. I get it. It’s easier to place the blame elsewhere than to take sole responsibility. But the truth is, we are actually co-creators in everything we experience. You might even say we welcomed in this ‘issue’ as an imperative life lesson we subconsciously know we must learn.

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I want to show you that you can enjoy your problems. First and foremost, you have to see these so-called problems as opportunities. If we see them as problems, then we got problems. If we can’t make that shift in thought, we can’t enjoy the journey and grow. Because if you think about it, much of life is purely a figment of our imagination. The going may get rough (at times) but it is what we perceive (overall) that shapes our reality. Why not perceive it in a light that makes life as a whole most exciting?

For whatever reason, you’ve undeniably welcomed this situation into your life. Whether it be a difficult relationship that’s teaching you about yourself in relation to others or a series of unfortunate events that’s testing your patience. We all have something to gather from each (problem) opportunity. Simply looking at it as so, is a great place to begin. A simple change in words and perspective can work magic in your life. Best thing, it’s free. If you read this, I hope one thing: You shift from ‘the victim’ to the ‘the opportunist’ by seeing each problem as an opportunity to improve your life. 

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| MAV M A N T R A |

I transform the mess into the message.

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Another huge adjustment is gratitude. I can’t stress enough how important it is to place your attention and intent in the right places. In the midst of chaos it’s easy to notice what’s going wrong. I do it too. But, what if you were to remember to acknowledge what went right? If you were in an accident, maybe you weren’t injured. Perhaps you lost a valuable item, but now you have space to welcome in something new. Whatever it may be, try to focus on what’s working. This simple shift gives you a new outlook on the situation.

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These are essentially simple (and effective) ways to learn, grow, and become more compassionate, which is why I think we’re all here, don’t you? These tough lessons come as blessings in disguise so that we may work out our issues together. What better way to improve than by learning from one another and being your own guru.

So welcome and face your challenges with an openness that sets yourself up for success. Approach your opportunities courageously and become stronger. Acknowledge what’s going right and become abundant. Be grateful for each and every life lesson, because they will come and go like the ebb and flow, that is fasho. What will remain is mindfulness and the richness of life. An internal gold that no one can touch.

Get (soul) diggin’

M

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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.

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THE BEAUTY C H R O N I C L E S

THE BEAUTY C H R O N I C L E S

Interviewed By Sasha Frank

Photographed By Nat Sin

Interviewee Morgan Ryan

What does beauty mean to you?

think beauty is entirely a state of mind. To me, beauty is finding comfort and strength in your individuality. It’s an acceptance of who you are, quirks and all, and a celebration of that. I feel most beautiful when I’m my authentic self because I’m instantly aligned with my truth. This allows my beauty to shine through.

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As a child did you hate a certain feature, if so, did you begin to embrace is later on?

As a child, I disliked my fair skin, auburn hair and freckles. Growing up, a majority of my friends had beautiful olive-toned skin. I felt like an outcast and at a very young age. The last thing you want to feel is like you don’t belong.

I spent many years trying to alter my looks as a means to fit in. As I grew older, I began to embrace my hair color. I noticed that the red undertones made my green eyes pop. I switched over to tinted moisturizers to allow my freckles to show through. I stopped tanning and realized how much beauty there was to be found in a porcelain complexion.

As a result of these insecurities, I learned that it’s okay to stand out. I began to understand the importance of individuality and how to embrace the “weird.” This made me more accepting towards myself and others. It’s amazing how the features I tried to alter have now become my most powerful attributes, not to mention my favorite. This goes to show that making peace with the external can help influence internal peace.

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Do you feel that inner beauty is just as important as the outer beauty?

I’m a big believer that your outer beauty is reflection of what’s going on inside. That’s not to say that the most attractive women physically are truly beautiful on the inside. Concealing is easy, but shining your truth is what takes strength and courage.

I think coming to accept the external is a huge hurdle for most and is an important part of the healing journey. Regardless, I definitely believe internal beauty reigns supreme. I say this because the external is temporary and subject to change. The only everlasting beauty is that of a good heart. Some of the most beautiful women I’ve met are those with a beautiful soul and that can only be achieved through inner work.

As women who are constantly working on our inner beauty: Do you feel that once you began to not care about what others thought about you everything began to fall into place? Did you find your calling in that?

Growing up, I was insecure but never showed it. I was a late bloomer, who had yet to reap the rewards of her external beauty. As a result, I had this “fake it till you make it” attitude. I searched, observed and learned by spending time with myself to better understand beauty. This was the time when the experimentation began.

I began to find my personal beauty when I took fashion risks and pushed myself to constantly create someone new and improved from the day prior. Although these were all external practices, it came from a deep-rooted place of “I am an artist.” I became fearless. I also began to grow a thick skin so that no external force could change me.

I remember one morning before leaving for school my dad asked, “Who are you trying to impress?” I said with conviction, “myself.” Ever since that day, I’ve realized the importance of intent and that we should never do something for the approval of others. I would say once I let the opinions of the outside world fade, I was able to make peace with my wounds and came into my own creative beauty.

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What do you think the world is missing in the scope of women role models? How can we change that?

I think the current landscape we live in is crying out for unwavering compassion. For this reason, we need women who can stand up and be both strong and empathetic.

I think society as a whole is partially to blame for our current role models. We add fuel to the fire by continuing to support and make the trivial important. I think the first step in making positive shifts in the scope of positive women role models is to create a new ideal and stand up for that by supporting the right women.

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What advice would you give younger girls coming into their own?

Be gentle with yourself. Understand that beauty is something you grow into; give yourself time to develop. Know that everyone’s journey is unique so don’t compare yours to others. You were born to stand out; never apologize for who you are! Embrace your unique quirks, they make you, you.

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Are there any upcoming projects of projects you are working on now that you can speak about?

At the end of 2015, I teamed up with Paul Mitchell as a brand influencer. I recently produced and starred in my first project for them as THE M A V E R I C K MUSE. It’s still currently under wraps so I can’t dish; however, I am excited to see how the future unfolds with this partnership!

Red, Red Lip, Red Hair, Beauty, Half Up Half Down, Style, Blogger, Fashionista, Smile, Camera, Vintage, Free People, Summer, Silverlake, Los Angeles, Lifestyle,

For more empowering stories and inspiration head over to Sasha Frank’s blog. For more Beauty Chronicles, subscribe HERE! 

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TAKE THE P L U N G E

“True creativity does not come easily; creativity is born of risk and refined from failure.”

-Erwin McManus,

The Artisan Soul

Beauty, Swim, Active, American Apparel, Los Angeles, Fashion, Art, Artisan, Soul, Iconic

Let us not be confused, creativity is not a gift given to the rare few. Rather, it is a rare few who take the risk to be creative. It’s as if we’ve been playing a game of telephone and during our correspondence our words became misinterpreted. You see, we are all born creators. So why do so many of us hesitate to be creative or even call ourselves creative? It’s simple, we found fear and replaced potential with limitation. We stopped dreaming. We found it was easier to lower the bar so we can sit comfortably rather than push ourselves to our limits. But what if I told you in order to create something beautiful you have to embrace risk and failure. I can tell you the only thing I fear is fear itself for it is the antithesis of a life well lived, a life of creativity.

| MAV MANTRA |

Today I will make my life a living art. I do not fear failure rather I welcome it’s invitation;

for I see my potential in arms reach. swim, pattern, water, los angeles, art, textureFear often interjects because we are unsure whether or not we are enough. We fear creativity because it calls us to be more and to reach for our potential. I’ll be honest I really dislike failure, but as an artist who enjoys the learning process I accept the fact that I won’t be the best at everything, yet. However I write this to you as I haven’t been pushing myself as much as I know I could in some areas of my life simply because I’m afraid of the responsibility and the idea of failure. However, I love creating enough to risk the experience of failure. I have come to find that failure is inevitable and with it’s help I can refine my craft. For when I see improvement, I experience an aliveness like no other. You know, with practice you really can achieve great things. In knowing this I will continue to risk it all in order to become the best creative I can be.

If you doubt whether or not you are an artist I leave you with one question, “Do you have a soul?” Art and creativity can be expressed in so many forms. Try not to take it too literally, get creative! If you write you’re creating, if you dance or cook you are equally creating. Heck you can even speak beauty and be creating. So where in your life are you merely existing but ready to live more fully? Where are you being commanded to create beauty in this world? Whatever that may be, do that. Heed the call and take the plunge. I promise you one thing, you will surprise yourself more than you know 🙂 Like the clerk said to Jerry McGuire, “That’s how you become great, man. Hang your balls out there!”

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| THIS IS A MAVERICK CREATIVE GUIDE |

The Creative Process 

1. Dream |

Imagination is the space where we can dare to dream. Cultivate a space and time to imagine each day.

2. Risk |

Push yourself! Go out on a limb, don’t worry about the end results.

3. Create |

Let go of your fears and make something intrinsically beautiful to share with the world.

los angeles, float, american apparel, swim, sparkle, summer,

PHOTOGRAPHER | CONCEPT

Evan Woods

MODEL | STYLIST

Morgan Ryan

FIT

American Apparel, Repurposed Party Streamers 

| THE MUSES |

The Artisan Soul

Madonna

Jerry McGuire

Beauty, Bow, Vintage, Denim, America, Nostalgia,

|| THE B A T T L E WOUND ||

“Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.”

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The Greeks refer to nostalgia as the pain from an old wound. This makes complete sense as I catch myself reminiscing over old photos. Instead of my usual happiness, I emotionally ache. To me, photography and nostalgia seem to go hand and hand. Like nostalgia’s accomplice, photography has the ability to trigger powerful emotions by capturing the fleeting moments in which we long to return. This could certainly feel heightened when we attach memory and emotion and therefore realize these moments can never quite be experienced again in the same fashion. Photography holds the beautiful quality of stopping time by breaking it down into tangible fragments that allow us to travel back in space and time. However, like all things in life with the light must come the dark. If we become too attached to these moments, photos enable us to live in the past instead of the present and can cripple us. This is when unhealed wounds re-open allowing the pain to rush back in.

This month has been an emotional roller coaster for many including myself. With the New Moon in Cancer, this is a time for cleansing and healing. With Cancer’s sensitive watery element, there is a direct focus on emotions and relationships. Whether or not you’d like to face your problems, I guarantee you haven’t had much of a choice as you’ve probably sensed the heightened emotions and relationship tensions too. I’ll admit that I both physically and emotionally ache as I write this. I’ve felt completely disowned and under appreciated. My upper back aches and let’s just say I’ve cried enough tears to put an end to the drought in Los Angeles. However, whoever said “there is beauty in the breakdown” is right. I’m learning there’s a necessity for release because without it, we’re like ticking time bombs. For unresolved issues continue to manifest in our relationships and health until we face them head on.

As some of our best life teachers, relationships provide the landscape for our personal growth. It’s simple to pinpoint a pattern, just notice what keeps appearing. The hard part is digging deep within to find its origins. This requires you to go to a sensitive place from your past and relive it and let’s be honest, most of us would rather keep bad experiences in the dark. However, those unhealed wounds are burdensome and if left untended will reappear until the lesson is learned.

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Before we get too wrapped up in the negative, let’s take a second to realize not all is lost, and we can deactivate that bomb if we know the code. This is merely an opportunity to be our own hero. With discipline and a willingness to face the emotional debris like a soldier of love, we can finally acknowledge the hurt and nurse ourselves back to health. With genuine compassion and self-love, we can begin to heal what we continue to hold onto from the past by reconstructing our destructive ways. My back might be in pain but not to worry I still got yours! Here’s a little guide to help get you started.

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|| THIS IS A MAVERICK LIFE LESSON ||

Healing Wounds  

1.) AWARENESS |

Instead of becoming reactive and swept away by emotion, become aware. Notice patterns and what is continually showing up. What are your triggers? By simply noticing you keep a distance from the pain. The more present you become, the quicker you heal. If anything, master this because awareness informs the next two steps as we prepare to move into the role of the observer who feels the experience with zero judgement.

2.) STORY TIME |

Remain neutral. Don’t entertain the mind with its stories. The mind merely tries to solve and make sense of experience and will bend the truth to do so. By moving from the mind, we play the victim role and keep attracting similar experiences and wounds. Instead if we move from the heart we can finally heal them. When you focus on the body and how it feels, the mind loses it’s “power.”

3.) FEELINGS |

Time to open up and allow yourself to feel the emotions. True healing occurs when we let go of all the built up emotions and allow compassion to flow. If you feel like crying, cry. If you feel like smiling, then smile (just make sure you do it from ear to ear). Feel whatever you must feel and show yourself unconditional love in the process. Be your own hero and you may just find you’ll be someone else’s too. The awareness mentioned prior is so necessary because now we can notice what our bodies are trying to tell us we need during these growing pains (in my case, I needed a soothing epsom salt bath).

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 Here we are, at the turning point of the battle. Now is the time to finally release the old emotional baggage so that we can grow into the new. No one said it would be easy and you may gather a few scars along the way, but the results are rewarding. I would rather have a scar than a wound for a scar is a reminder of my strength over what tried to take me down. I found a new life awaiting beyond the confined limits of a 4 x 6 photo. I released the nostalgia of my past and entered an even better reality, the present. Trust me when I say, in this place good things await. Things like greater personal power, freedom, self-love and confidence. Take the leap of faith and step into your new life in a powerful way. I assure you will be shown a greater strength.

| MAV MANTRA |

I can contribute good to someone else’s life today by being full of love

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|| PHOTOGRAPHY ||

Evan Woods

|| CREATIVE DIRECTION & STYLING ||

 Morgan Ryan

|| OUTFIT ||

Vintage Jean Jacket, Vintage Silk Scarf from Sunday’s Best Thrift, Hanes White Tank, Free People Jeans, ALDO combat boots

THE ROAD TO M A S T E R Y

“Everyone holds his fortune in his own hands, like a sculptor the raw material he will fashion into a figure. But it’s the same with that type of artistic activity as with all others: We are merely born with the capability to do it. The skill to mold the material into what we want must be learned and attentively cultivated.”

– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

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Many of my friends are aspiring artists like myself. Being a part of the youth culture here in Los Angeles has been an amazing experience. I feel so fortunate to have been surrounded by encouraging people with whom I share similar feelings of victory and defeat. Together, we trek along the road ahead, the road to Mastery.

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|| The Five Attributes of A Master ||

1) They take their work very seriously & consistently perform at a high level

2) They aspire to improve their skills

3) They’re precise clean in presentation

4) They’re impatient

5) They’re passionate

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Mastery is a skill in which one cultivates a greater control over reality, self, and others. This skill takes time to develop, and much like a treasured diamond, it’s created as a result of pressure. This pressure can be in the form of a crisis or deadline as well as constant work on a project.

As we begin to perfect our craft we become absorbed in it, feeling focused and energized. I know this because I’ve felt it and second handedly experienced it with my friends. It’s a time when ideas flow, people are less resistant to your influence, and you inspire others respect.

This high is not one that can be replicated. It is pure, giving us access to the heart of life and touching us to the core. When an art form has been mastered it has the ability to connect heaven and earth. Completely transcending space and time, it will spiritually move you to a new place and leave you forever changed. In this life, my ultimate goal is to achieve this level of greatness.

The biggest risk in attempting mastery is the word itself, attempt. If we only ‘attempt’ instead of ‘attain’ we have allowed our emotions to get the best of us. As much as I have experienced the ultimate highs, I have also felt the lowest lows of boredom, confusion, impatience, fear, and confusion. These limiting feelings bring the entire process to a halt if we can not learn how to manage them as they stifle our ability to observe and learn. This is in fact a process, an ebb and flow, which entails different stages.

|| THE HOLY TRINITY ||

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|| THE STAGES ||

 1). Observe. Follow the lead of others for gained clarity. This is where we begin to learn the rules of the game we’ve chosen to play.

2). Practice, practice, practice. Here we begin to gain fluency and master the basic skills, making room for new challenges to present themselves. Typically, this is the stage where emotions set in and many give up. When you find yourself in this “Tunnel of Challenge” you must remember why you set out to be a master in the first place, focus on the light at the other end and break on through the darkness.

3). Persistence. This is where we emerge into the light and begin to see the connections once invisible to us in that dark tunnel. Gaining confidence, solving problems, and working around weaknesses becomes effortless. Like a well-trained dancer, your moves are fluid, internalized and forever engraved. This is when we move from student to practitioner and bring our own style into play. This is also the time where we have learned the rules so well that we have the right to break them or even better, re-write them. For that reason alone, I must become a Master.

|| MAV MANTRA ||

I learned the rules well. Now watch me re-write them.  

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|| THE MUSES ||

Mastery by Robert Greene

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Shen Yun 

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