| HAWAIIAN H E R I T A G E |

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

– A E S C H Y L U S

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aloha,

M

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

R E E B O K | ON | THE BLOCK

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

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“Great acts are made up of small deeds.”

– LAO T Z U

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| P R E F A C E |

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

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

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

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| MORE ABOUT THE B R A N D |

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

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| NEW ERA, SAME HERITAGE |

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

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

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

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

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

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

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| SHOE SPECS|

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

– Low-cut design for a sleek and sophisticated silhouette

– DMX Lite midsole cushions for a superior feel

– Heathered upper

– High abrasion rubber outsole for traction and durability

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Click here to buy the ZOKU RUNNER.

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+ MEET THE TEAM +

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| CREATIVE DIRECTION |

Morgan Ryan

| PHOTOGRAPHY |

Jordan Zobrist

| HAIR |

Tina Greene

| STYLING |

Johnny Escaray

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| CHILD’S P L A Y |

” We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

-GEORGE B E R N A R D SHAW

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I believe we all seek a life well lived. How we each define such is another story. To me, it is a life of balance. Sounds simple yet is much easier said than done. Last month I decided to test my ability to create balance between work and play. I realized in order to lead a fulfilling life, I must make time for both.

Studying the unstructured act of “play” for a month helped me reconnect to my past. Although it may seem like all fun, there was indeed plenty of work involved. When we work too much we’re dull; when we’re all play, we’re slackers. I figured there must be a happy medium, and at this balanced place I found a story that brought everything full circle.

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| THE CURRENT LANDSCAPE |

We live in an incredibly stimulating society; one that encourages instant gratification. To solve an ailment, we often opt for the easy solution. When we have a moment to carve out some free time, we often spend it binge watching Netflix or scrolling through social media. These habits only waste our energy rather than gather it through active creativity. As a population, we’ve become workhorses who grind until we reach a point of exhaust. Always curious for a natural solution, I went searching for a way to alleviate any stress or boredom and found relaxation and relief.

Normally I find the beauty in the little things, yet every now and again things can seem dull or flat. Whenever I felt this drab creep in, I recognized it as my trigger to play. Maybe all we truly need is the knowledge that it’s okay to slow down, relax and have some fun. I granted myself permission to play, sans regret, and regained my shiny outlook along with some new knowledge.

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| WHAT IS PLAY |

Play is simply the time spent building new knowledge in creative, inventive and imaginative ways. It is an act in which we constantly learn without an end goal in mind. When we’re unbalanced it’s reflected in our total being. Setting aside personal time to be lighthearted helps cultivate positive emotion and allows us to return to our work refreshed. This completely spontaneous and enjoyable process can be extremely useful for anyone hoping to heal, improve his or her well-being and/or productivity.

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| BENEFITS |

The truth is if you wish to remain healthy and full of vitality, cultivating a balanced life is the first step. Self-confidence, emotional maturity as well as cognitive skills are just some of the by products of playing. Beyond that, it’s simply fun. If you seek rejuvenation, then incorporating some leisure time could be very beneficial in keeping your life in check.

Maybe you’re interested in increasing your energy or becoming more functional under stress. Maybe you wish to prevent burnout during big projects. Whatever the case may be, there’s a reason why playing could be beneficial for you. I broke it down into three categories to show the effect playing can have on the mind, body and soul:

Mental

When we play, we engage in similar behavioral patterns that positively shape the brain. In this mental space, or “flow,” a state in which we become fully absorbed in the process, we have the ability to replace limiting beliefs with positive ones. We also can lower the risk of mental illnesses such as depression or dementia. Similar to meditation, the mind is taken elsewhere, away from the stress and mental chatter. This space creates time for us to restore and heal.

Like our bodies, we must also work our minds to keep them sharp and functioning. It’s proven that we actually learn best in a relaxed and playful state. Using puzzles or brain challengers can help strengthen our minds. By stimulating our imaginations, we adapt and problem solve more efficiently. Unfortunately most of us aren’t programmed to play when we hit roadblocks or stressful situations; however major breakthroughs are possible when we take a break, detach and create some space to play.

| MAV MANTRA |

“What enlivens my mind, relaxes it.”

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Physical

Physically, play is an active process, one that engages both the mind and body. If it still comes as a surprise, chronic stress is one of the leading causes of illness and disease. Active engagement gets the blood pumping, strengthening the heart and increasing energy levels. This helps to burn off hormones, sugars and fats released into our bloodstream as a result of stress. On top of that, play can also temporarily relieve pain and slow down the aging process.

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Social

On the social front, playing with others helps to strengthen our personal ties and keeps them exciting. It can be as simple as sharing laughter together or cultivating a playful state of mind. A playful attitude can help loosen us up, which can be helpful in stressful situations. Lastly, it’s practical for building strong social skills that could come in handy in breaking the ice with a potential new business partner or friend.

| PLAY TIME |

What I personally noticed from my experience was an increased sense of confidence, energy and authenticity. I believe when we connect to our past and hobbies, we tap into our truth and happiness. The three methods of play I experimented with were photography, coloring and play dates.

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| WAYS TO PLAY |

Creating opportunities to play is simple when you surround yourself with playful people. However, you can play wherever you are. Here’s a simple list of ways of play; just decide which suits your personality best and try incorporating just one into your daily lifestyle for starters:

On Your Own

  • Photography
  • Adult Coloring Books
  • DIY Project
  • Play With A Pet/Child
  • Puzzle
  • Watch A Comedy
  • Hit The Park
  • Take A New Route Home
  • Learn a New Instrument/Craft
  • Join A Gym

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At Work

  • Ping Pong
  • Solitaire/Cards
  • Crossword Puzzle
  • Read The Funnies
  • Joke With A Co-Worker
  • Keep A Sketchpad To Doodle
  • Afternoon Stroll

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With Friends

  • Host Game Night
  • Bowling
  • Go To A Festival
  • Dance Classes
  • Join Intramurals/Sports League
  • Play Volleyball At The Beach

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At the end of the day, life is a beautiful adventure and should be enjoyed as such. Maybe life’s a test or maybe it’s a playground; maybe it’s a combination of both. All I know is that when we play, we’re in the ‘flow.’ Perhaps cultivating this essence in playing can help us in applying it to real life situations, ones where we need to be less rigid; hence the phrase “go with the flow.”

When we play, we reconnect to our truth; for the only true journey is the one within. With this in mind, play is just as essential in our youth as it is in our adult lives. If we play as adults, it encourages further growth. If playing as a child can be seen as the dress rehearsal for adulthood, then can’t playing as adults be a reminder that we are still works in progress? I think once we believe we know it all, we stop learning and evolving. If we stop evolving, we die. Perhaps this is simply the circle of life; we play to mature, we play to stay young.

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| PHOTOGRAPHY |

 Nat Sin

| STYLING + CREATIVE DIRECTION |

Morgan Ryan

| MUSES + SPONSORS |

Rich Honey Apparel, Calypso Cards, WTRMLN WTR.

Thanks to my friends Evan, Austin, Kybl, Alison & Navin for always bringing out the best in me. Thanks to my New York boys for coming out to LA + always reminding me of my roots ~ Bobby, Cooper, Nick, TK.

| SOURCES |

Mashable

Helpguide

PBS

Wiki