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FLAG F I N I S H

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

– DAN S U L L I V AN

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

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

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Here are some facts about ideals:

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

Here are some facts on happiness in relation to success:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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More-gain,

M

 

Photography: Nat Sin of Style Cruise

 

 

 

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| SPECIAL GUEST: KRIS JONES |

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

– N A V E E N JAIN

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

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

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

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What are your top laws/rules for success?

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

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

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

KJ: The Lean Start-up by Eric Ries

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

KJ: Confidence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you attribute your success to?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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GET RICH OR DYE TRYIN’

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

B A R B A R A STANNY

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

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1. Get Quiet or Take A Retreat

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

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2. Hang with Kindred Spirits

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

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3. Harness Your Female Energy

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

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4. What’s Your Purpose?

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

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5. Embrace Your Fears

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

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

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

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All photos taken by Morgan Ryan.

Shot around East Los Angeles and The Getty.

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

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I AM ________.

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

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I AM ______.

          strong

      courageous

        tenacious

  ever-evolving

              loving.

goofball, dance, freak flag,

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

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

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

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Strong Look of the Month: 

SPACE BUNS + WINKS

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PREP:

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

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

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

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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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S I M P L Y BEAUTIFUL

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

– MORGAN R Y A N

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

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

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

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

FLOWING WITH THE NATURAL ENERGY AT WORK: 

I. Write out your goals + dreams

II. Release something

III. Feng shui a room

V. Root and ground

VI. Do something communal

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I.

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

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

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

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  II.

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

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

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III.

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

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

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IV.

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

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

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V.

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

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

CHEEKY

THIS BAR

ONE HOPE WINE

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

Xx,

M

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

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Nat Sin 

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Shakespeare Bridge

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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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Black Hat | Crystal Earrings | Lanvin Serpent Sunnies from DITTO |  Levi’s 511 | Tank TopNude Pumps

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Nat Sin

Steve Madden, Creepers, 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,

|| 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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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

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Ashlyn Kudransky