beauty inspiration, orange. eyeliner, denim, made in la, denim on denim, platforms, flowers, farmers market, bell sleeves, free people, fashionista, lifestyle blogger, personal style, casual, chic, comfy, cuffed,

| 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.

denim, made in la, denim on denim, platforms, flowers, farmers market, bell sleeves, free people, fashionista, lifestyle blogger, personal style, casual, chic, comfy, cuffed,

| 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.”

____________

beauty inspiration, orange. eyeliner, denim, made in la, denim on denim, platforms, flowers, farmers market, bell sleeves, free people, fashionista, lifestyle blogger, personal style, casual, chic, comfy, cuffed,

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

 

Pattern, Studio, Design, Fashion, Photography, Style,

S U R R E A L ( I T Y ) | PART II

Head over to SURREALITY || Part I for a recap on how Mitch and I met

surreal, studio, beauty, vintage, surrealism, art, fashion,

Banana, Surreal, Studio, Socks, Funny, Pastels, __________

(Past Reflection)

The day began with an overcast dreariness that kept me in bed an extra hour. My conscious and subconscious minds intertwine as I replay the final moments of last night’s dream. I watch myself fearlessly walk through a dark space that I now recognize to be a haunted house. Suddenly reality kicks in and all traces of fear come rushing back. It becomes clear my subconscious is the brave one here.

A jolt of energy catapults me from bed and into a frenzy as I realize the time. There are two things in this life that’ll entice me to become an early riser and that’s fresh Bruegger’s Bagels and LA street sweeping. I beeline it for my car, pj’s and all. They say the early bird gets the worm yet somehow I still had something to chew on despite my tardiness. I’m thrilled to announce it wasn’t a worm but filled with remorse that it wasn’t a bagel.

          Through the process of elimination you may have concluded that a street sweeping ticket was the culprit. Refusing to let the worthless piece of paper symbolize my weekend, I opt for my favorite tactic – out of sight, out of mind. I tuck it away, hoping it’ll fade like my weird dream. The air was brisk and slightly damp like the transition between summer and fall transpired over night. Today I would experience a shift of my own in deciding to re-write my day with an order of sunny-side-up eggs, brioche and a side of Mitchell Winkie.watch, retro, pattern, style, graphic, studio, design

_________

            I walk down Melrose, texting Mitchell to let him know I’m almost there. I look up from my phone to notice a guy wearing a shirt that reads, “Be Iconic.” The simple yet impactful phrase cheers me up and it’s as if my bright attitude cues the sun to pop through the clouds. A brisk breeze nudges me along and blows whispers of change.

            I turn the corner to notice a couple enjoying an order of toast that towers high enough to be mistaken for a game of Jenga. I enter the building and look for the loudest shirt in the joint to pinpoint my company. I find Mitchell at the back of the line scouring the menu. With so many choices on the menu I was instantly overwhelmed. Breakfast or lunch? Sweet or Savory? Luckily Mitchell made it a simple decision, “I’m getting both,” he says. With those three words I had the validation I needed to know he and I would be good friends. I follow suit and place my order as I grab Sqirls’ business card.

            Somewhere between the register and the water pitcher I unknowingly drop the business card. I shrug it off and keep walking figuring someone who truly cares might pick it up. A woman lightly taps me on the shoulder and says with a smile says, “You dropped this.” Slightly dumbfounded, I thank her and safely secure it in my purse. Soon enough, I’m sitting outside in the LA sun with Mitchell and conversation’s flowing. In fact we have so much to talk about we often get sidetracked and reroute to yet another avenue of discussion. Luckily I dig detours, they keep things fresh and adventurous. Between bites Mitchell asks me quirky questions like, “what’s your favorite cheese,” and “would you want to raise yourself?”

Fashion, Surreal, Studio, Sleep, Beauty, Patten, Design,    Pattern, Studio, Design, Fashion, Photography, Style,

We sit across from each other in our favorite Sunday’s Best finds; he in his tri-toned-short-sleeved-button-up and me in my iconic silk scarf bow. I couldn’t help but think how this all transpired. My first thought revolves around the aspect of recycled goods and how it led us to connect electronically. I decide to go deeper to the root of it all to find the truth of the matter. Here I find it was actually us that made it happen; it was our desire to connect as well as our commonalities that brought us face to face, celebrating our boldness over an all carb diet. I realized many will commit to connecting online, however few will make the effort to step into reality and act upon that desire to connect. It is in that extra step, the follow through, where everything comes full circle.

We sit and devise our future world dominations and laugh for hours before splitting. As we walk to our cars (both conveniently parked on Melrose) we impulsively stop to look at a sale rack outside a thrift shop. With no luck we assume we are without treasure until we realize the real gem lay not on the rack but on the ground. Mitchell reaches down for a piece of paper and I curiously ask him what it says. He unfolds it and reveals the poem, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. I ask if I can keep it only to feel slightly embarrassed afterwards. “Hey one man’s trash is another chick’s treasure,” I playfully smirk. He eases my discomfort by telling me he once found someone’s trashed diary and read the whole thing in one sitting. That was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment.

With shades layered over his glasses, he jokes, “Yup, nothing like rolling up to valet in your ’08 Corolla with manual windows.” I can’t help but giggle, not knowing if I was amused by the joke or his ability to pull off sunglasses over glasses. The most groovy thing about Mitchell besides his ability to make you laugh was his ability to make light of any situation.hair, beauty, fashion, studio, surrealism, art, style,

We part ways and I arrive back at my car. Here I take time to reflect on my ironic day. First my car inconveniences street cleaning, and now here I am, cleaning up the streets of LA. I get into my car and close the door behind me and pull out the business card and poem. I turn them over in my hand, trying to connect the dots. Then I realize I was doing exactly what Mitchell had done when he first found my mysterious card in his shirt pocket. It was as if I was now walking a mile in his shoes, only this time it involved an 8th graders literature homework.

With two tangible items in hand I could easily discard them as trash, but I saw something greater in them. I saw treasure that another left behind for me to find and attach my own meaning. I could see it as a “coincidence,” or I could see it as serendipity and formulate my own personal story. Knowing me, you know which road I took.

observe, beauty, fashion, style, batmitten, fan, active, lifestyle,      batmitten, beauty, fashion, editorial, studio, vintage

________

Bat Mitten, Vintage, Monochrome, Fan, Fashion, Beauty, Suureal

            The Road Not Taken is a prime example of Frost’s misinterpreted nature, which I can relate to. Much of the poem contradicts itself, opening the door for confusion and exploration. This confusion is most evident in the fact that the title is often mistaken for The Road Less Traveled. Maybe we have never entertained the possibility that Frost intentionally sought to confuse his audience. Let’s explore that notion.

Poetry is defined as the art of rhythmical composition, which excites pleasure through beautiful thoughts. Art itself is defined as the aesthetic quality of that which is beautiful or appealing. So if poetry is a form of art and art is beauty, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then is it not all subjective to the viewer?

      I believe the purpose of poetry is to melodically ignite the viewer’s imagination so that we can extract our own interpretation of the story. So maybe the fact Frost never entirely reveals the true implications behind his piece is exactly what made it so compelling and therefore famous. For I believe at the very core of all great art is this purpose to inspire a new train of thought, an ability to spark questions and an outlet to freedom through open interpretation.

Someone recently asked me if I believed in fate. The more I thought about the question the more confused I became. This got me thinking, do we create our own fate with our choices or do we choose to call it fate as a means to take comfort in our choices? Maybe what Frost was hinting at was the two roads to destiny; the one where you create your own (better known as free will) and the road of pre-determined destiny (also known as fate). Do we create meaning from meaningless pieces of paper by injecting them with imaginative stories? Or have we just lost the ability to see life creatively? If Frost is right and both paths lead to the same destination, would you change your course or keep trotting?

silly, fun, quirky, beauty, fashion, studio, surrealism, art,

            Maybe Robert Frost understood the importance of the individual and the intrigue of mystery. Maybe he found that healthy balance between supplying his audience with enough to guide them while understanding the freedom in negative space, which allows one to fill in their own blanks. As we all experience life from different perspectives, one’s path will never be the same as another’s. Equally so, one interpretation of a story won’t be the same as another’s. One thing is certain, life may present the game, but it is us who choose how to play it. As for Mitchell and I, I’d say we played our hands well.

__________

 || PHOTOGRAPHY ||

Sara Clarken 

|| CREATIVE DIRECTION ||

Puno

|| STYLING | MUSE ||

Morgan Ryan

Leather, Fashion, Minimal, Style, Surreal, Beauty,

S U R R E A L ( I T Y ) || PART I

“Poker is a fascinating, wonderful, intricate adventure on the high seas of human nature.”

– David A. DanielLeather, Fashion, Minimal, Style, Surreal, Beauty, The notion of one man’s trash as another’s treasure is far from unusual to me. I mean, let’s be honest, you can’t share the same name with Captain Morgan and not have some of the same qualities. In a debate, he and I would probably not see eye to eye on our idea of ‘treasure.’ We would agree to disagree yet rest assured, we share some common ground. As unrelenting adventurous spirits, we both have a desire to seek and a love for spiced rum.

     After imagining myself conversing with the fictional character, I thought I might be insane. That is until an idea sparked and had me thinking; what is it I’m seeking? If it isn’t gold or the fountain of youth, is there a treasure we all agree on? Is there something we all equally desire? It was then I found my answer and realized there is a means to my madness after all.

telephone, vintage, green, hand, model, surreal,   What began as an inconsequential piece of paper soon took on a life of its own. By finding its way into the pocket of a second-hand shirt, somehow the un-treasured piece of paper went from obsolete to inspiration. For with the tangible essence of the paper came something intangible…a story. Better yet, a story that could be felt and experienced in reality. As a result of ‘coincidence’ and bold action, a connection between two strangers would be forged and a story worth sharing would be told.news, newspaper, vintage, surreal, beauty, model, minimal, studio, studio, beauty, fashion, newspaper, redhead, muse, surreal, Last month I received an email from USC film grad and aspiring comedy writer, Mitchell Winkie. He had recently bought a shirt from my favorite thrift shop, Sunday’s Best. He had no clue that after buying the shirt it would hold additional value. Aside from an amazing fit and a ubiquitous, and not to mention, inescapable smell of thrift store, he was presented with a choice.

He found a slip of paper in his new shirt pocket. On the paper he found a grassroots version of a business card. Written by hand was my name, blog and contact information on index paper. I figured it might resemble the likeness of a flash card and therefore was the best choice for memorization purposes. Confused, he figured he either stepped into the Matrix or had one too many rum and Cokes, resulting in an alter ego, Morgan Ryan…now he was on to something.

zoning, beauty, vintage, redhead, model, surreal, art, beauty,

Wu-Tang, Emoji, Hands, Surreal,

Maybe it was his lifelong desire to receive a message in a bottle or his imaginative curiosity that prompted this manifestation. Or maybe it was his good taste in shirts. Any way you put it, one thing was certain…Mitchell clearly was a pirate too. Kidding. However I’m serious when I say all plausible scenarios led to one universal destination and treasure, a person and a connection.

As he tried to figure out how and why the mysterious paper had gotten there, he made his choice. He entered the game with a comical and entertaining email. Like any smart poker player, I knew how to act. Having already supplied him with a Maverick, he had the advantage. Equally so, I created my own advantage in knowing I had nothing to lose. I matched his email with a response and raised the ante with a face-to-face meeting. We decided on lunch at Sqirl, an innovative joint in Silverlake that serves breakfast until 4 p.m. We were all in…and it was up to Mitchell to figure out if the Maverick was suited for a royal flush or royal flop.

electronics, apple, iphone, surreal, digital age, connected, surreal,

emoji, idea, point, hands, nails,  clap, nails, hand, model, surreal, art  punch, emoji, surreal, art,  point, emoji, nails, hand, model, surreal,

   To Be Continued…Los Angeles, City, DTLA, Serendipity,

|| CREATIVE DIRECTION ||

Jennifer Puno

|| PHOTOGRAPHY ||

Sara Clarken

|| STYLING | MUSE ||

Morgan Ryan

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, 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

THE ROAD TO M A S T E R Y

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

– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

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

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|| The Five Attributes of A Master ||

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

2) They aspire to improve their skills

3) They’re precise clean in presentation

4) They’re impatient

5) They’re passionate

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

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

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

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

|| THE HOLY TRINITY ||

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|| THE STAGES ||

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

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

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

|| MAV MANTRA ||

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

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|| THE MUSES ||

Mastery by Robert Greene

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Shen Yun 

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS || Feat. H A P P I N E S S BOUTIQUE

“The only real elegance is in the mind; if you’ve got that, the rest really comes from it.”

– Diana Vreeland

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Recently I teamed up with Happiness Boutique, an online fashion accessory and clothing company based out of Berlin, Germany. With their dazzling yet affordable statement pieces and “glass half-full” attitude, I was confident in uniting our brands. The item featured is the Honey-Bee Statement Necklace, a jewel-toned vintage piece inspired by natures pollinators. Similar to the necklace, Happiness Boutique is a community of positive individuals with a soul purpose to spread, create, and inspire beauty and joy for others to enjoy.

How can one define a subjective matter such as beauty or happiness? Can’t this be seen as dependent on the individual’s definition of the two? Personally, I have found that all we seek in the external world is already in our reach as we contain it all within. This is the primary reason I love using fashion and beauty to create, it’s the external expression of what I’m feeling in the moment.

In living in the present moment, you welcome a degree of awareness into your life. You actively begin to notice how you feel and how this translates into your body language. For example, when you f e e l lovely you can then outwardly embody that essence in your physicality as you present yourself to the world. This “feeling within” is virtuously reflected in the imagery created for this campaign. My partner, Evan Woods, truly brought to light how the beauty and elegance of the mind can be expressed in ones facial expression.

|| MAV MANTRA ||

Highlight the beauty within, then adorn it with a touch of personal style.

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For a classic yet modern take on vintage jewelry, I highly recommend visiting their webpage: Happiness Boutique! They offer free shipping and a customer reward program, making them a generous and uplifting brand that I enjoy representing and supporting.

M I N T CONDITION || FEAT. THE M I G H T Y COMPANY

“We’re not shy about our ambitions and we live to inspire others. We like our clothes classic, and our
goals lofty.”

– The Mighty Company

The-maverick-muse-michael-rousseau-photography-morgan-ryan-19

I was recently introduced to The Mighty Company through the wonderful world of Instagram. With their timeless taste and meticulous tailoring, this independent brand resonated with me instantly. These guys equip their buyers with classic pieces designed specifically for the rebellious, forward-thinking individual ready to shake up the world. They also understand the importance of looking good while doing so. The result? A Friday afternoon dance party on top of a West Hollywood apartment complex captured by Toronto based Photographer, Mike Rousseau. In honor of our boy, Drizzy, we were

“Way, way, way, UP. Turn it all up.”

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|| OUTFITTED ||

Dress Shirt : The Mighty Company

One Piece : Asos

Socks : J.Crew

Oxfords : Sam Edelman

.  .  .

|| BEAUTY ||

Eyeliner: NARS 

Lips: MAC Cosmetics 

B O M B A E QUEEN: INSIDE NYE

Change your perspective,

change your view.

-M.R.

cutie

In 2014, I became aware that I was beating myself up over what I was without. The issue was I couldn’t seem to notice or appreciate the great things in front of me that I did have. It wasn’t until December that I realized this unhealthy pattern needed a perspective check, pronto. Hence introducing, The Gratitude Journal. Each morning I would date a fresh page and start out with an intention for the day. That night, I would reflect on the day to see what I was truly grateful for and if I had fulfilled my intention.Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

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Taking this practice with me into the New Year, I noticed profound effects in my attitude within just one month. This year will be the year of unwavering optimism. I know this because of the way I welcomed in the New Year.Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

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As we left the party in the Hollywood Hills, Evan and I head back towards Downtown Los Angeles. Just before midnight we drove up to the top of White Knoll Dr. to get a view of the city skyline. We kissed the sky and 2014 goodbye as fireworks began to sparkled below us.

They looked quite small against the vast landscape we were now looking down upon. We both acknowledged the difference we felt as we watched the fireworks from this vantage point. 2014 was a time when we were on ground level looking up, marveling with excited eyes at the grand beauty of fireworks lighting the sky. In this case, it could also be equated to feeling quite small and insignificant. This was no longer the the case.

The next day we realized how many more fireworks we were able to see when we were above it all. How silly it was for us to feel small when little did we know, we had more than we knew. It was as if we were zooming out of fame to find a grander, bigger picture. In this light, you can begin to embrace how far you’ve truly come yet also see all the potential options you have yet to explore.

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Here’s to 2015, make it count!
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