Dinner Lab, Minimal, Design, Los Angeles, Culture

|| DINING WITH T Y R A ||

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt

Dinner Lab, Minimal, Design, Los Angeles, Culture

A few weeks ago I attended a Dinner Lab event at the MaRS gallery in DTLA on behalf of Bunch Magazine. Arriving solo, I found I was in the company of a mature crowd. A situation that could have easily been intimidating I strangely found inspiring. I took the humid night in stride, determined to make the most of it all. I found comfort in the smell of fresh paint emitted from the artwork that hung on the walls. Maybe this accepting attitude amidst the uncertainty was the reason I later find myself face to face with a supermodel. I would soon re-define the impossible. Walk with me…

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With my tea-infused Bombay elixir in hand, I make my way around the venue. Bold aromas fill the space as chef Wes Whitehead preps our meal for the evening. The dinner’s theme is a creative celebration of tea and food. The tables are set in a uniformed fashion, which nicely balances against the free-form paintings and adds a touch of needed structure.

As more guests begin to pour in so do the beverages. With great company came greater heat, and I begin to feel beads of sweat emerge on my face. I find a way to remain positive in thought and regard it as a lovely dewiness. My ears perk up as a familiar face walks by, mentioning something about the bow meticulously tied in my hair. For a moment I think I’m hallucinating as the woman who just took note of my appearance looked a lot like Ms. Tyra Banks.

Feeling a little too warm for comfort, I walk in their direction towards the back patio to grab some fresh air…and maybe excite my curiosity. I wasn’t trippin’ that was in fact Tyra Banks. Just as shocked as one of the cooks out back, he says, “Hey, tell Tyra I say hello.” I laugh it off thinking to myself ” Ya, you and me both kid.” Little did either of us realize I would be engaging in more than a simple hello.

The host approaches, gently coaxing me to take my seat as the dinner is about to begin. As I walk around to find a spot, I notice an opening directly across from the supermodel herself. Is this for real right now? The one spot you would think would be filled in a heartbeat was free and calling my name. I hesitate for half a second only to kill it with action. I decide this is no time to be shy. I make my move. As I draw closer to the table, I realize my feet are moving me forward and there’s no turning back now.

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I approach the ladies at the table to ask if the seat’s taken. They instantly welcome me to the table. Tyra breaks the ice and relieves some pressure by saying “We were just admiring your bow.” I melt into my seat and begin to blush. Smiling from ear to ear I thank her, wanting to say more as I sit arms length from the woman who inspired me to model. I wonder how on earth I managed this one and then I begin to get nervous. I pour some water to re-collect myself and I start to reflect on the irony of the phrase, “Never let them see you sweat.” One thing was certain, with this heat, they most certainly did see me sweat. Humor comes to my aid and a lighthearted smile calms my nerves. I realize I’m sweating the small stuff.

           The conversations at the table come naturally. We discuss art, photography, Quixote Studios and random things like going to the movies alone. Tyra’s friend then asks if I came alone and I surprise him with a yes. They both applaud me for being courageous and mention that I appear young but disprove that notion when I speak. Tyra hints that I’m an old soul and that I fit in just fine. (Who knew sitting at the adult’s table would be so fun)

As the night comes to an end, Tyra begins to say her farewells and I feel an itch to show her my work. Not wanting to force the subject I hold back and almost forget tonight is about being bold. I ask. She openly accepts, welcoming me to sit beside her. She lands on my 4th of July shoot and mentions how photogenic I am to her friend. As she tries to recall the name of an a-typical agency I should look into, she hands the phone over to her friend. He takes a closer look and decides to go beyond the image by investigating my entire Instagram. He notes my catch phrase “transforming the mess into the message,” and begins following my account on the spot.

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@Tyrabanks Instagram

As they begin to clear the tables, we find we’re the last of the guests still around. Tyra reaches for her leather jacket and says she hopes to see me at the next DL event. Hoping for the same, I say goodbye as I float on thin air towards the bathroom to go pinch myself.

I close the bathroom door behind me and begin to second-guess this positive encounter. I try to figure out its purpose and begin to fearfully wonder if that was my only chance. Did I make a powerful enough impression? Could I have done anything to make a better connection? Then I stop to breathe, calming the unnecessary tension I created in my mind. Then I realize I made the impressions I was meant to make. Although the circumstances didn’t unfold the way I thought they might, I did make an impression. Tyra Banks noticed me. I received insights on the importance of providing context to your art. I was told I’m very wise and brave, and I earned a new follower.

If I learned anything tonight it’s that anything is possible. I imagined meeting Tyra ten years ago but never in such a casual context. What mattered most was that somehow without any effort, I was blessed with the opportunity to be in the presence of an incredibly influential woman. I got to share a moment with her, and in this light, it was far better than what I originally imagined.

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Clearly you don’t have to have it all figured out, and maybe it’s better if you don’t. Maybe this was a lesson in accepting uncertainty, the space that lies between structure and free flow. This is the place where life naturally unfolds. With patience and faith good things will come in unexpected ways, you just have to allow it. As for Tyra, I have a feeling our paths will cross again. So until then, I will effortlessly continue to re-define the impossible.

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

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!”

water, art, creativity, authentic, sparkle, pool, summer, swim,

| 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

Hair Flip, Beauty, Fashion, Style Icon,

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.

Style, Trend, Beauty, Los Angeles, Fashion Blogger, Pinstripe, Urban, Chic, Cool

|| MAV MANTRA ||

Today I am the architect of my own sense of fulfillment

Sunglasses, Dope, Swag, Curls, Hair, Beauty,Hair Flip, Beauty, Fashion, Style Icon,

Beauty, Photography, Los Angeles, Fashion Icon,

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.
Shades, Dope, Swag, Beauty, Bates Motel, Bates Motel, Beauty, Vintage, Retro, Babe

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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)

Beauty, Fashion, Lifestyle, Los Angeles, Blogger, Flowers

THE || M E D I C I N E || WHEEL

“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.”

– Ann Wigmore

beauty, fashion, los angeles, blogger, style icon, influencer, holistic, guru,

I wanted to take a moment and thank everyone for all the positive feedback I received on this pizza I made last week (I’m talkin’ to you over there Reem drooling all over your computer). I decided to pay it forward by sharing the recipe I originally found on Cookie and Kate, but with a Maverick twist. Naturally, I had to provide you with some food for thought or what some would call a side dish of wisdom.

So here’s what I want you to do, don’t worry a 6 year old could do this. When I say the word
“pizza” what is the first word that comes to your mind?

Indulgence. NEW YORK. Guilty pleasure. Happiness. Cheesy. Yum. Deep dish all da way.

What was your first impression? Was is negative? Positive? It doesn’t matter, but it’s important to do this simple exercise in order to help us see how we pass judgement. I feel it’s important for us to stop and reflect on our relationship with food. I believe we all could use a little shift in perspective so we can begin to see food as necessary fuel versus a guilty pleasure. With a positive attitude as such, we can then shift any negative thoughts we have of food as the enemy and start to see it as the great healer, remedy and fuel that it is.

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THIS IS A M A V E R I C K RECIPE:

 || BUTTERNUT GOAT CHEESE PIZZA  ||

Health, Recipe, Pizza, Art, Seasonal, Organic, Wellness ● ◎ ●

|| THE RECIPE ||

Homemade Pesto
3 cups lightly packed fresh arugula (remove stems)
¾ cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
½ cup fresh Parmesan
2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper
Additional Ingredients 
1 batch easy whole wheat pizza dough
5 ounces chilled goat cheese
1 small butternut squash (1 pound)
Garnish: Pepitas, arugula and red pepper flakes (or cayenne)
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 || INSTRUCTIONS ||
  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Or, if you’re using a pizza stone, make sure it’s in the oven on the appropriate rack.
  2. Using a vegetable peeler (a Y-shaped peeler works best), peel the outside of your butternut, then slice off the top portion with the stem and the very bottom. Slice the butternut in half vertically, scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard them. Slice one of your halves in half vertically again so you have made quarters. Using your vegetable peeler, peel long ribbons of butternut, enough to generously top the pizza. Toss butternut ribbons with a light drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper so that the ribbons are lightly coated in olive oil.
  3. For the pesto, combine the arugula, pepitas, parmesan, garlic, lemon juice and salt in a food processor. Pulse while drizzling in the olive oil. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Roll out the dough on a piece of parchment paper for easy transfer to the oven. Preferably roll the dough out as thin as possible while maintaining an even surface level (I used my hands)
  5. Lightly oil the outer edge of the pizza with olive oil. Spread the pizza with the pesto. Then crumble the goat cheese over the pizza using a fork. Arrange the butternut ribbons on top—it’s best to let them curl and wave rather than lie flat against the pizza. You want to put about as much butternut as you reasonably can on top without covering up all of the pesto and goat cheese. Top it off with a sprinkling of pepitas.
  6. Transfer one pizza to the oven. Bake until the crust is golden and the butternut ribbons are caramelizing on the edges (about 10 min on a baking sheet, or as few as 5 minutes on a baking stone). Top the pizza with a light sprinkle of fresh arugula and, if desired, a dash of red pepper flakes. Slice and serve.

    || THE RX ||

    Butternut Squash: Anti-Inflammatory

    Basil: Aids Insomnia | Eases headaches 

    Arugula: Detox | Eye Health

    Pepitas: Stress Relief

    Olive Oil: Protects Metabolism | Healthy Fat

    Garlic: Strengthens Immune System

Beauty, Fashion, Blogger, Flowers, Pink, Love, Style Icon, Healer

With a new found love for cooking, I have formed an even more powerful relationship with food. I now see food in a healing light as it nourishes and provides me with an outlet for artistic expression. This past weekend I completed my volunteer orientation with Project Angel Food, a non-profit dedicated to nourishing the sick back to health with garden to table, fresh-cooked meals. I look forward getting involved in healing the lives of others through the power of food. To serve and give back to my community will be life changing and learning some skills in the kitchen from chefs and nutritionists is merely an added bonus 🙂

Beauty, Lookbook, Los Angeles, Fashion Blogger, Vintage, Flower, Red Head, Beauty

Not only has cooking given me a new found appreciation for my body but it also offers piece of mind knowing where my food came from. So whether you create this masterpiece over the 4th of July weekend to share with your family or on a special occasion, I hope you stop to appreciate it. Revel in your creation, take a photo, bless it, do whatever you see fit, but take a moment and fully appreciate it. In this moment, I hope you see it as the medicine wheel it was intended to be. An offering to all the good you seek in this lifetime. A healthy mind, a strong inner spirit, inner peace and a strong healthy body.

Bon Appetite!

Beauty, Fashion Icon, Vintage, Flowers, Summer|| PHOTOGRAPHY ||
Frankie White

|| PHOTO EDITS | STYLING ||

Morgan Ryan

|| OUTFITT ||

Blouse, Vintage

Black Tank, Brandy Melville 

Black Denim Shorts, Free People

Palm Tree, Desert, Vintage, Rustic

S T O N E || W A S H E D

“We are all given the power to create the story we wish to tell. It’s up to you how you tell it. If you live your life as a reflection of this story, authenticity will shine as your actions align with your words.”

-M.R.

Palm Tree, Desert, Vintage, Rustic

All of us in some way or another have tried to live up to the expectations of others. We’ve all had that one teacher who never gives us the grade we think we deserve. Or the mentor that constantly expects more from us when we feel we’ve given our all. Despite the critique of others we forget that in most cases we are our own worst enemies. How many times have you looked on Instagram and compared your life to someone else’s? I’ll be the first to admit I have.

We allow the mental chatter from outside or create our own stories to tell us whether we’re good enough or not. The thing we don’t realize is when we do finally get what we’re after (that A on your paper, a promotion, your soulmate) it will still not be enough if we don’t believe we’re enough now.

Beauty, Head Shot, Red Lip, Pink, BeautyRock, Timberlands, Fashion Blogger, Palms, Los Angeles,

Whether it be another persons opinion or our own mental image of “perfection,” we seem to look outwards in order to validate our existence. We seek approval by reaching for another’s hand when we really should be reaching for our own. In reality, this short-term fix merely fuels the ego and the ego alone, therefor providing a false sense of security. We will come to find this will no longer make us happy and we will begin the search all over again, not realizing what we’re looking for is right in front of us.

True love and approval comes when we stop looking outward and begin looking inward. The funny thing people don’t understand about seeking approval is that it has the ability to make you invisible. When we rely on something impermanent to make us feel good, we’re only dimming our authentic light.

Jump, Active, Lifestyle, Skater, Urban,Hussle, Hands Up, Energy, Denim, Acid WashIt’s time to move away from the role of the victim and into the creator. Redefine your beauty. Redefine your health. Redefine your wealth. Redefine your strength. Realize you’re already enough right here, right now. It is already manifested within, you just have to be willing to peel away the layers of the past.

This takes time, patience and faith to work through these emotional layers. Once you release them you’ll understand that the outside is not all there is. Unseen changes take place within you when you take responsibility for the issues instead of pushing them under the rug. It might get dirty, but never let your circumstance define the beauty of your unique tapestry. Know who you are. Define life on your terms and yours alone. And never forget to reach for your own hand.

Palms, Denim, Acid Wash, Shades, Fashion BloggerCat Eye, Sunglasses, Details, Fashion, Legs

| MAV MANTRA |

I will let go of the need to be perfect.

Mantra, Grateful, Present, Mindfulness,

  Cactus, Nature, Lifestyle, California, Desert          Cactus, Green, Beauty, Nature,

|| PHOTOGRAPHER ||

Sabrina Hill

|| PHOTO EDITING | STYLING ||

Morgan Ryan

|| OUTFIT ||

70’s Vintage Jacket, Sunday’s Best Thrift

Crop Top, Watch Me Hussle

Acid Wash Shorts, Urban Outfitters

Vans Socks, Timberland Boots 

Earrings, Rocksbox

THE || C O N C R E T E || FLOWER

“Spark of inspiration,
Light my spirit’s fire,
Let the joy of creation
Be my heart’s desire.
Let me flow with the music,
Let me dance my dreams alive,
Let me sing my deepest feelings,
Until the whole world thrives.
Exploding into expression,
My joy takes many forms,
Leaving the tears and sadness
For the warmth of tender arms.

-Mystic Mamma

A few months back Bianka and I met briefly at Quixote Studios. Despite her bold style, it was her gentle character that I remember most. I instantly took a liking to her taste in fashion and humility. Little did I know she would soon again grace me with her presence.

This past weekend I wove in and out of Venice Beach with photographer, Sabrina Hill. We kept it casual as we bounced from one location to the next, changing looks in the car. This “on the whim” style of shooting has been my method ever since I could remember. I love the degree of uncertainty and innovation it creates and how it forces me to be resourceful. It opens me up to the opportunity to express my DIY spirit, while keeping me grounded in expression.

● ◎ ●

THIS IS A M A V E R I C K TUTORIAL:

|| HEADSCARF ||

Turban, Chic, Urban, Beauty, Fashionista

1. Flip your head to let your hair hang towards the ground

2. Place the scarf at the nape of your neck

3. With your hair gathered inside, begin twisting the scarf until it’s entirely twisted in one tight strand (Ex. twisting your hair up in towel after showering)

4. Allow the tension to coil the scarf naturally as you wrap each coil around the next until you have only the end of the scarf

5. Tuck the end up the base of a coil and pull through until tightly secured

Venice, Coffee, Flowers, Fashion● ◎ ●

Menotti's, Coffee, Venice, M, I use the car window for my mirror as I wrap my hair into a silk scarf, securing it into a top knot. I look up from the window to observe my surroundings. In the opposite direction of the boardwalk I notice a wooden sign embossed with a cursive M. Starry-eyed, I point to it as if I’m Captain Morgan and I’d just discovered some uncharted territory. Clearly this was a fully established location but this didn’t stop me from seeing it as today’s treasure.

|| ON THE M A P || #XMarksTheSpot || (Better yet, #MMarksTheSpot) 

Location: Menotti’s.

Smile, Menotti's, Venice Beach,

Menotti's, Coffee, Venice Beach, DIY, House of Harlow, Succulent As we head towards the quaint coffee stop, I notice a tall, well-dressed woman meticulously placing floral arrangements on a wooden barrel outside. As I draw nearer. she turns around and I am greeted by a familiar face. I’ll admit it, I’ll admit it. I am horrible with names, but when it comes to a face, I always remember. We re-introduce ourselves and catch up for a few moments. Curious about the flowers, I ask her what they’re for. Come to find out they’re her newest creation, Bianka Blooms, an artistic platform to spread love and positivity. Quite simple and true, however she forgot the most obvious aspect of her work, beauty. Without second thought I ask if I could incorporate them into the shot.Rosie The Riveter, Tough, Strong, Beauty, Denim Jacket,

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What I love most about my craft is how I see the world. I’m just a young adult with the spirit of a child. With eyes of wonder, I see the world as as one big playground. I joyfully smile as I step into today’s pre-determined scene and begin interacting with the energy. As Sabrina tests the light, I take a few moments to talk the girls leisurely sipping on their lattes across the way. As people begin to pass by, I can’t help but engage with my them. Bianka snaps some behind the scenes shots with her iPhone and slips in some words of encouragement like “Your killin’ it Morgan.” A young boy then passes by with his family, he looks back again saying “That’s gonna be a good shot!” Then an older gentleman comes up from the street, greeting us with a smile. I send him one back and he demands more people should make me smile so my dimples show.

In that moment it was as if time didn’t exist. In slow motion, I watched these people from different walks of life as they passed by me. Despite their differences they were all doing one thing in common. They were smiling. I realized the images we originally set out to capture were not nearly as important as the real deal, the present moment. What struck with me most was how my desire to live authentically somehow created this catalyst for human interaction, connection and collaboration. We all shared a connection in that moment by adding our own unique energy to the space. Without a doubt the tangible can evoke feeling. However it can never truly re-create that energy ever again. I will never forget the warmth and love I experienced this past weekend and how my intuition brought me face to face with fate.

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| MAV MANTRA |

Love breeds love

|| BREAKING F A C A D E S || 6.7.15 ||

I’d rather be honest and authentic and disappoint some people than to exhaust myself trying to keep up the façade of perfection.

Crystal Paine

Los Angeles, Wanderlust, Deep Thoughts

| MAV MANTRA |

I have a right to speak my truth

Hot Rodd

This week, all the signs pointed to this notion of authenticity. This reminder to always remain true to who you are is not a value new to me; rather it resides at the top of my list. However, having it tested simultaneously in both my personal and business relationships is a whole new ride for me. In just a short week, I experienced the necessity of using my authenticity in relation to my voice on several occasions.

It seems so simple, yet some of us tend to refrain from speaking our truth when we have the most to say. This doesn’t have to be limited to just the literal sense of stating what you will or won’t allow. It can also be in the creative sense, such as dressing a certain way and therefor not allowing an outside force to impede on your choices. Either way, the point is that you don’t remain silent when you have something important to say.

For me, fashion does most of the talking. I tend to prefer silent observations matched with in-depth reflections. What can I say, I’m an artist. I express myself on my canvas. That is unless I’m put on the spot. In that case I gotta deliver some spit fire whit.

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This week provided some great eye opening experiences. If these interactions showed me one important lesson it would be that it’s okay to say no. In fact sometimes you must say no in order to create healthy boundaries in your life. I stepped into my authentic power. One where I could respectfully exert my voice in the right situations.

 Amidst these opportunities of vocalization, I also found waves of silence. In these moments, I would observe situations like a fly on the wall and gather lessons from this outside perspective. You see life is just a test to find and maintain the balance of opposites. There will be moments where you must step up to the plate and deliver, and times where you will need to fall back, blend in, and observe.

.  .  .

Can you relate? Have you recently had the opportunity to authentically express yourself for the benefit of yourself or another? Or maybe you are learning how to speak up more and that’s why you were led here. Whatever the case may be, I want to help you live an authentic life too. If you seek some helpful tips for breaking down the barriers you face with personal expression and communication, here are a few for starters.

Since our voice is associated with the throat chakra, there are a few ways to get more in touch with your authentic voice. First, you could try opening your throat chakra with guided meditations or mantras. Or maybe you like essential oils. If so, go for scents associated with the throat chakra such as chamomile, sandalwood or frankincense. If that’s a little out of your comfort level, then maybe just simply turn on some music and sing! The element is sound, so all methods are equally as effective. Turn it up and come sing with me:

|| B R O K E N VANITY || THE LASH || 5.29.15 ||

“It’s not about where you are but rather the company you keep that determines your experience. However, it doesn’t hurt if the place you’re headed is cool to begin with.”

-M.R.

Asos, Style, Vintage, Street Style, Fashionista

 A slight chill filled the springtime air as we arrived at Austin’s pad. Ornate glasses lined the shelves of his mini bar, displaying a decorative array of alcoholic beverages. Tonight, we went for the Gin. We casually catch up, enjoying ourselves as we meticulously sip our grapefruit x gin cocktails in sync to the deep house softly playing in the background.

We had little to no direction as to where we were headed for the night and I enjoyed every moment of this uncertainty. I knew for a fact, wherever the night brought us we would bring our good vibes and tear up the scene. If there’s one attitude I’ve cultivated over the years about having a good time, it’s never to have a “Plan B,” for you’re already setting into motion the need for one. As our Uber arrives, we make our move; tonight we’re cruising over to THE LASH, a conceptual pop-up bar x club located in DTLA.

Shattered Glass, From where I stand

We enter from the front door and ascend small yet steep stairs into a room illuminated by red fluorescent lights. I admire the artistic choices in decor as we make our way to the bar. I notice this attention to detail extend even further as I observe a blackberry which dances and gather bubbles in my champagne flute. This little touch brought a smile to my face as I now had something to look forward to despite the inevitable loom of a last sip. I start towards this reward as I lap up my first sip and we make our way to the dance floor.

Making our way through a white brick tunnel, we exit the bar and emerge into the dance room. Party goers and an engaging DJ set the tone of the environment as their high energy welcomes us. We stay for a few moments to shake our tail feathers then continue to explore the rest of the place. We come across a secluded back room that I assume has been overlooked due it’s placement in the corner. Most would see this empty and alienated room and walk in the opposite direction. However, with positive eyes I’m instantly drawn to it as I look to my crew to see if they’re thinking what I’m thinking. Their smiles match mine and it clues me in that they saw the same perfection I did…our own private VIP.Glamour, Beauty, Disco, Babe

Disco, Babe, Beauty, Vintage, Guru, Psychic, Head scarf, denim, shattered,We breathe life into the room as we take full advantage of the space. The wooden tables are accented with broken glass tops, which one might assume is the result of rowdy partying or the shattering bass of 90’s/00’s dance music. Regardless of how they came to be, we found a creative purpose for them as we turned the place into our own private set as we dance and sing between shots.

| MAV MANTRA |

Dance like everyone’s watching 

(Lets face it they’re watching, that’s what people do. If you’re cool, they’re definitely watching. However if you’re cool enough to be watched why should it matter how you’re dancing, you’re a cool cat remember?)

Cool, Party, Kids, 90's, Club

Blurry, Fashion, Details

Friends, Crystal, Visions

When asked earlier that night about destiny, I said “It’s k n o w i n g you’re in the right place at the right time.” Ironically this notion of destiny set the tone for the night as we drifted towards a destination merely guided by the flow. By the end of the night I realized we ended up right where we were meant to be as we remained at LASH the entirety of the night. In all honestly, all you truly need is in this life is the company of a few great friends with whom you can share solid laughs with, a few photos, and a funky beat to groove to. And on that note…this sums up the night

AIR FORCE 1 || 5.18.15 || LOOKBOOK HIGHLIGHT

“Do what you love and find what brings you joy. If you are unsure, make it a point to ask yourself because I’ve come to find, as you commit to your personal joy, you begin to attract an outpour of joyful moments, merely because you radiate that essence.” 

– MORGAN RYAN
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In some shape or form, my New York roots shine through in all I do. Since moving to Los Angeles, I found myself occasionally bending my “branches,” as a means to acclimate to my new home. However don’t get the wrong idea, I never let it sway me from rocking my Nikes in a sea of Vans. Today I stand firmly in LA, rooted from the soul of NY, as I celebrate a new found balance of both coasts, and my debut on Lookbook’s Instagram.

Let us rewind a bit to the beginning. As I set out on this journey, I had high hopes for abundance and success. However, somewhere down the line I let the joy and love for the the process slip away. I suppose this was the point where I began to manifest from a place of lack versus a place of abundance. Enter the moment I became my own worst enemy. I was cutting myself off from the very things I desired and ultimately stripping the joy from my passion by focusing on what I had not accomplished and what I did not have.

 As I came to realize this and work through these emotional blocks, I returned to yoga and meditation last week as a means to ground myself. In this restored balance, I re-establish a positive relationship with my career and my intentions behind it. This helped move me from a place of negative resentment and into a higher vibration of love.

With the approaching New Moon, I decided to set these new intentions into motion in the most creative, joyful way I knew possible: A dream board, aka collaging. This is a visualization technique I love to do in order to manifest my aspirations. I grew up with art as a central element in my life. In that regard, working through this inner work in the form of art sparked some enthusiasm. Artistic or not, this project is an amazing way to get your creative juices flowing.

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This month I chose to begin my focus with health. For me, health is essential in order to move forward in anything I do. It helps me take the first step in the right direction to positively honor myself and my body so that I can confidently step into my creative power, therefore positively representing a brand or product.

As I cut through pages of magazines, I didn’t think as I let my subconscious mind take over and choose whatever words or images it gravitated towards. I mean realistically speaking, it’s kind of hard to think if you’re already rapping Nelly lyrics, shoulder shrugging, and tapping your feet while meticulously cutting motivational phrases. If you can do all of that and be in deep thought, then you my friend got skills.

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As I felt this lighthearted vibration of my childhood move through me, joy began to return to my life. No, literally; The mere symbol of joy just that flew into my life. As I hear a repeating thud, I look above to find a hummingbird that has flown into the skylight above. Trying to escape and find its way back to freedom, I can’t help but feel pity for the little bird. I watch him struggle, feeling out of his element, and I instantly feel connected. As some of you may know, I already have an affinity with hummingbirds.

I realized this rare and special occurrence held some key lessons and hidden messages. Relentless and persistent to say the least, the hummingbird was determined to get where he wanted and deserved to be. However there was a downfall to his method. You see, he was so set on the idea of escaping through the skylight that he couldn’t see the bigger picture. I then reflected on how there was a bit of myself in that stubborn bird. It was an omen, a message, a reminder to stop, think, re-evaluate, step back, and see the bigger picture.

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 “A baby Hummingbird in the house is said to be indicative of new beginnings and chances to start again. Some people believe that its presence may be a sign that a spirit has ascended to help in current issues within your life. Be prepared to be fledged into a new way of living.”

.  .  .

Symbolizing long journeys, joy, and resilience, this rare encounter ironically had a lot to do with myself and my current situation. With the wrong focus, attitude, and vibration, I set myself up for failure. So I returned to gratitude. I began to realize l must return to finding joy in the process versus the destination. I must enjoy the journey. For in the journey, we come across rare encounters like this of the hummingbird, and only if we stop to truly experience these fleeting moments can we then live our truth by extracting from it a message or the story we were born to share. I can confidently say with optimism, that I look forward to the journey ahead. Without a doubt in my mind, I welcome what awaits me around the bend.

IMG_1648

Today, waiting around the bend was Lookbook with a lovely feature highlighting my style. As I took in the moment of pure ecstatic joy, a huge smile swam across my face. Then it hit me like a crashing sea: May 18, 5.18; 518 is the area code of my hometown, Albany. It just goes to show that your energy definitely plays a role in what you’re attracting in your life and that there’s no such thing as a coincidence, it’s merely divine timing.

As I return to my roots, I have a newfound appreciation for my accomplishments and a fresh optimism for what is yet to come. Today marked the beginning of my journey; a life rooted in joy, belief, and progress. Always remember who you are along the way and that the destination is in fact the journey. As the New Moon in Gemini encourages us to return to our roots we will see ourselves gravitating towards the people and places we feel at home most. For me, I will beginning my journey with an adventure to Carmel to visit my childhood best friend, Rye. Ironically, she is a Gemini 😉 As always I look forward to sharing the moments and memories captured along the way. Until next time, rap wid me:

“High top strap with the gum bottom

I leave um strapped and laced and come up out um.”

-NELLY