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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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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I N D E P E N D E N C E DAY || 07.04.15 ||

“The world you inhabit is a reflection of your internal state. If you want to see external change, work from the inside out.”

-Dali Lama

IMG_7018 (1)            During my senior year of college I took a course on Happiness. I recently decided to re-visit one of the books from the class and in doing so retrieved some valuable information. These excerpts impacted me more today than ever before as I could now apply them to a real life scenario. As I delve into the idea of happiness in relation to personal freedom, it is only right that I bring some philosophical homies along for the ride.

            Confucius was one of the first philosophers to create the notion that we in fact hold the power to self-transformation. This idea of self-manifested change is quite empowering as it can be applied to any area of life. In knowing that we have the ability to change our life from an attitude, it is then not hard to believe that we can bring to life whatever we feel within.

            Aristotle said that happiness is a state of mind arising from purpose. When a sense of inner direction guides our actions and choices, we remain afloat. However, once we lead from an outside desire, and seek pleasure without purpose, we sink. When we confuse “things” with happiness, we find ourselves in a pit of emptiness. Year after year I chased after pleasure and I came to find it only seemed to run farther away from me.

            If I knew what I know now, I would have realized pleasure has the tendency of a firework; a quick burst of electrifying energy that comes as quickly as it goes (talk about impermanence). On the contrary, true happiness as a state of soul is everlasting. As I drive through Hollywood tonight, I first handily experience the role the mind plays in the quest for happiness as I admire the temporary pleasure of fireworks with a detached attitude.

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|| MAV MANTRA ||

Today I am the architect of my own sense of fulfillment

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Four years ago I was far from who I am today. I looked for fulfillment from just about anything material, which I now recognize as pleasure (thanks Aristotle). I was looking for something to fill the emptiness I so desperately longed to alleviate. As a result I blindly created an even larger hole with this vicious cycle. It was around the same time I met you and during this chapter of my life, I thought you were the answer to all my worries. I was so wrong and I am happy to admit it.

I waited to be set free like a genie in a bottle, or better yet a firework, confined to the limits of my own body. It was as if I was trapped in solitary confinement and the only prison bars in sight were those I had built around my mind. I had become conditioned to pleasure and attached to the idea of someone saving me. Little did I know, I would only receive more time behind bars for these actions.

I became lost in your world, a world that in all honesty didn’t co-exist with my own. I was searching for the hands of another and found myself waiting hopelessly on fireworks that would never make it farther than the ground. I was headed down a slippery road with no outlet in sight. As I reminisce I feel a jolt of restrictive energy rush through my veins as my current view is much more expansive and promising.
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I drive down Santa Monica Blvd, occasionally glancing up at the explosive beauty that lights up the cityscape. It is July 4th 2015. The evening has yet to begin and I already feel a sense of fulfillment as fireworks light up my eyes. For the first time in four years I feel free from the outside world’s influence. A thought of you surfaces only to fade away in sync with a firework as it lights up, sizzles out and disappears into the night sky.

    It wasn’t until I lost you that I could finally see I held the key to my desired freedom all along. They say you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. In a way I think they’re wrong, for maybe in losing, we can finally realize that which is truly important can never be lost. For me, I needed to set you free in order to see this clearly for myself. In shifting my attitude I broke free and the fireworks that I wished for finally took flight. Now I truly understand what it means to be free. The holiday begins to take on a new significance and I realize we continue to hold onto something for as long as the mind remains attached.

           A burden lifts and my spirits soar as I arrive in West Hollywood to meet up with my friends. We stroll the streets, heading from Pump to The Abbey. As we hop around we pass a bar that’s playing “Genie In A Bottle.” I smirk at the irony. We head to Revolver as our last spot before calling it a night. I follow Austin down a set of stairs to the bathrooms and find myself in the men’s room. I giggle and shrug it off by doing what I know best in awkward situations as such, I dance. Whitney Houston belts out “I get so emotional baby,” as new arrivals greet us with initial looks of shock that quickly shift to smiles as they enter our dance floor and join in on the fun. If singing and dancing to Material Girl in the men’s bathroom on July 4th doesn’t scream independence, I don’t know what does.

          I arrive home in the early morning, park my car and take a moment to listen. I hear the birds sing and my heart beat. I draw in a deep breath. In this moment I’m happy and I wonder what could account for this current state of mind. I have reason to believe it has to do with appreciating all the good of the past with a sense of detachment, as well as a thoughtfulness in saying, “that was good, but I’m here now.” As I look back, I can now honor the beauty found in letting go. Strut, Fashion Model, Bates Motel, Los Angeles,

         A few days later I received an email with these words: “In the long run those who don’t eventually go “within,” often go “without”? You’ve got the power.”Talk about impeccable timing! I allow this to reaffirm my decision to conclude one chapter of my life as I crack open the next. I am satisfied that I finally understand the power I hold in creating the life I know I deserve. Lesson learned, happy are those who fight to find their freedom and refuse to ever let it go.

(Shout out to Allen for turning me onto The Internet’s new album, Ego Death)

|| CREATIVE DIRECTOR | MODEL ||

Morgan Ryan

|| PHOTOGRAPHY ||

Evan Woods

|| MAKEUP ||

Emily Gruen

|| SHOP THE LOOK ||

Jersey | A Common Space

Socks | Nike

Shoes | Nike Force

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|| MUSES ||

Aristotle

Confucius 

Dali Lama

Happiness by Chittister (pg. 45, 172)