THE S U M M I T || 12.29.14

“And she soared high above the trees,
towards the vast escaping light.
From the shallows of her darkness,
she broke free in majestic flight.”
– m.r.

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It was not even two hours after my flight had landed in Los Angeles that I found myself back where I had left off, Elysian Park. Before departing for New York two weeks ago, the crew and I headed up to the same spot after our latest shoot to watch the sunset and revel in our potential, which twinkled in the city lights below.

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Jet lagged and running off of four hours of sleep, it was safe to say I was in need of some Vitamin D, product of California. This I figured would dust off any remaining cobwebs created by the New York Winter I just encountered.
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With my leather backpack slung over my right feather-coated shoulder, I made my way up to my favorite spot to detox, re-center, and grab a dose of fresh air. The sun was warm, the air crisp, as both penetrated my very being in the friendliest manner. Before me lay a scenic playground. I lightly played ambient music, hoping to drone out the plentiful amount of thoughts that raced through my mind, quite similar to the twirling streets that lay ahead of me as I made my way to the top.

// The Summit //
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As I parked at the peak’s overlook, I opened the car door, turned up the volume on my radio, and took a seat on the stone ledge. Something felt mildly ironic as I placed my feet, properly protected by synthetic floral Doc Martens on Mother Nature’s rich soil. Breathing deeply from my diaphragm, I began to welcome in happiness, kindness, peace, and love. In return, what goes up must come down–and on the exhaling breath, out came any traces of sorrow, malice, discomfort, or greed. I continued in this way with a rose quartz in one hand and a cooling green stone in the other. A warming sensation washed over me. This time it wasn’t the sun, but rather the sunshine within me.

// My light //

I began to work my way into a trance. Visualizing a time I was very happy and in a way, transporting myself back into that landscape. I imagined Santa Cruz. I smelled the fresh ocean breeze laced with sea salt and remembered the uplifting presence I once felt. At the time I was in love, madly, adding to the natural high I had experienced and was currently cultivating once again. Time stopped as I freeze framed a once picture perfect moment. I didn’t care about anything. Not a moment that came before, nor anything in that present moment. And definitely nothing that lay ahead of me.

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I can in part owe much of this to you, as at the time I wasn’t fully aware of many concepts, including that of Tao. I only saw that you were totally and utterly awake. Because of you, I saw and experienced the highest feeling we as humans can encounter, the Present Moment. I realize now, you were only the vessel of this message that now lives within me. To my surprise, this was only the beginning of my journey,
a journey of self.

I realized each individual in our life serves a very specific purpose. We are all vessels of light and by knowing this, we are encouraged to touch one another with our unique power. When we touch others, we impart a piece of ourselves on one another, in hopes that they may now carry it within themselves. These people either stay, leave, or come in and out of your life like the ebb and flow of a tide, to serve as a reminder that
 all we seek can be found within.

Mantra:
I know I’m never alone–
because I always carry a piece of you,
within me.
.  .  .

 We give so that we can receive.
And where you end, I begin.

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INNOCENT E Y E S

“In a bed of cooling clover, there she lay. With lips like apples, on a crisp Fall day. Her skin was her canvas, for all colors display. However her self-image wasn’t where she held her greatest power. It was in her bright eyes of wonder as she daydreamed in a light slumber where she saw the world anew, growing more beautiful with each days view. And till this day, she never let anyone tame her innocent e m e r a l d eyes.”

-m.r. || 9.11.14

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It was shortly after sunrise as I pulled off the 101 on my way to work. The brisk morning air met my sea salt sprayed hair that was pushed off my face with a headband. I took a sip from my morning elixir. Today it was what I call The Fountain of Youth: a yellow blend of coconut water, mint, mango, turmeric and lime. As I rolled up my windows, I bobbed and swayed to the music that played from my car speakers. Entranced by the delight of the present moment and my undeniable state of being, I was too preoccupied to realize the gaze of two men across the street who smiled in admiration. As I parked and stepped out of my car to greet the day, I found it planned to greet me first.

“Have a beautiful day,” the man said.

I smiled, appreciating the use of the word beautiful.

“It will be more beautiful than yesterday–and the next day will be more beautiful than the next.” he added.

To many, the encounter would seem normal and friendly, yet for me it held more of an impact. On the drive leading up to that moment, I had been thinking about my recent shift in perception. Prior to that week my life seemed to have slipped into a stale state of boredom. I wondered what I had lost and where it had gone?

I realized I hadn’t lost anything, it was only hidden behind worn eyes…and I held the key.

The key was seeing the world through fresh eyes of innocence. That’s when the door unlocked and everything was renewed. I stopped driving the same path to work everyday. If I did choose to drive the same path, I looked for something new to appreciate that I hadn’t noticed the last time. Similarly that week I began relaxing in the same spot beneath the shade of a tree. Each day I would notice the world around me without any judgments or preconceived notions. That was when I realized my wonder and zest for life was truly fulfilled again.

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You see innocence never fades, it can only be covered up. Concealed behind the expectations and labels we create as a means to put meaning behind everything we see. When you choose to uncover your innocence, you will re-discover a world of wonder and joy you once knew as a child.

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W H I T E KNOLL DR.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old,
but on building the new.”
 
-Socrates
 
Photographed by Evan Woods, Ace Hotel DTLA
When I first moved to Chinatown, I was curiously drawn to a large hill on White Knoll Dr. As I ascended, the familiar flow of Jay-Z and Kanye flooded my mind, “Made a right on 79th, I’m coming down South Shore Drive (I remain Chi-Town) Brooklyn ‘til I die.” Only in my case, Chi was short for Chinatown not Chicago, and, well, Brooklyn was close enough to my NY upbringing I suppose. If you’re unfamiliar with the reference, you best get up on your rap game. |Gotta Have It|.
Following my inner gut, I set out to tackle the steepest hill I had ever encountered; a surprising game changer ensued. I found a great view of Downtown Los Angeles including an abundance of accumulated litter. McDonalds wrappers and styrofoam cups adorned the pavement and grassy knolls by my feet. It was at this exact moment a thought ran through my mind and created an impactful wave of consciousness.

// We over-produce, over-consume, and as a result, over-pollute //

One thing was for sure, we need a change. But with change, I realized the first place to start is with yourself. I began to look within and make major amends to my lifestyle. I wanted to create positive and progressive habits for my future self. That same week I came across an article that emphasized the importance of creating a monthly focus and goal. Each month I would hold myself accountable for 31 days or longer, until it formed into an innate habit of everyday life. When I reached a point where I no longer had to think twice, I knew it had become muscle memory, much like memorizing a routine back in my dance days.

Last months focus was body image. This included all aspects such as fitness, my perception of my body, and my eating habits. Prior to setting this goal, my eating routine was heavily influenced by the typical Los Angeles “vegan stereotype.” This didn’t do much for my body, and I was often lethargic. So I took it up notch, tailoring it in a different direction more suitable to my lifestyle and body. Everyone is different. I am very active so I focused on a protein and veggie “diet.”

I say “diet” because I really dislike the word to be honest. When I hear diet I think of deprivation. Much on the contrary, this couldn’t be farther from the truth when it came to my new eating pattern. I began eating more from the earth, which meant less processed foods and I began reading labels.

I wanted to know what I was putting in my body solely out of curiosity. Like what the hell is maltodextrin, for real though? I realized unless you’re buying fresh foods, you’re most likely eating processed food. This then forced me to start from scratch and prepare and cook my own meals.

Green Machine Salad with Quinoa, Mushrooms & Hazelnuts

 

Mix it up

 

I saw this as another artistic outlet to express my creativity. I can honestly say I have never felt stronger, healthier and more connected to nature ever since. My body has noticeably transformed in a matter of one month, more lean muscle and less fat. I am excited to see and feel the continued benefits.

It seems things have a way of having perfect timing. A week ago marked the 3rd annual Food Revolution Day. This global action focuses on getting the youth excited about healthy food, teaching them cooking skills and raising worldwide awareness on the importance of better food education. I guess this is just another form of validation from the universe that I am on the right path. Others are taking note of the same need for a health shift in terms of the food we eat as well as in its production.
These are the things that deserve to be talked about, not Kim K’s extravagant wedding. Food is essential in our overall health and well-being. I know we need a transition, and I believe all aspects of our lives need to move towards a more holistic lifestyle. But first we need to begin with the most prominent, our eating habits.
Shrimp Lettuce Wraps Gingergrass in Silverlake
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When was the last time you entirely sat down with company (without your cellphone in your hand) and entirely enjoyed a meal? No not enjoyed, thoroughly tasted the ingredients within the food. Did you pause to notice how the sweet taste of mint complimented the tang of the coconut sauce? Or did you just scarf it down in order to move onto whatever was next on your agenda?
Try using chopsticks next time you dine. It will help you slow your pace of eating as it forces you to consume slowly. (Like I said, Chi-town till I die). In addition, you’ll become a chopstick boss so the next time you’re awkwardly stuffing a whole roll in your mouth in front of your date, at least you can impress them with your technique while looking like a cute chipmunk.

That day on White Knoll Dr. taught me an important piece of advice. Nourish your body with the correct foods and re-learn your ability to taste.

// This is the key to avoiding gluttony and guilt //

No deprivation here, just a keen believer in listening to your body. Plus I’ve always been one to leave room to live a little. Dessert or cocktail? Yes please.

For more tips and insights on my fitness, health/diet and recipes contact me to set up a wellness consultation, msmorganryan@gmail.com

O B S E R V A T I O N S || 4:42 PM || 05.09.14

“Imagine if the life that you thought you shared
Wasn’t really there–
It was made up in your mind,
Could be anyone, anywhere.

Dust Clears by Clean Bandit

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Looking out my bedroom window, my eyes became fixated on my neighbors kitchen window. There hung a string of dead fish that were strung like clothes on a clothes line. Living in Chinatown, this is sort of the norm, only I hadn’t really noticed it since I first moved in. I think becuase I’m accustomed to it now–or I have been too wrapped up in my own world to notice; totally unaware of a world outside of myself. What matters is that I noticed them this time around with a more welcoming perspective. What once creeped me out and seemed unpleasant had transformed into a sense of understanding.

As a the blinds began to shift, two hands emerged from the shadows while a face remained concealed. (Now thinking on it, there was probably a reason they remained anonymous in that moment as I could picture myself behind those two hands). The stranger began to remove the fish one by one from the line. This time instead of cringing I simply smiled. This is their way of life. Their culture. Their lifestyle.

//Who was I to knock them for that?//

I’m sure when I walk around Chinatown with a sunflower wire headband twisted into a set of quirky ears they probably silently think to themselves…Who’s this crazy chick with antennas on her head? In Echo Park a more accurate response would be who does this bunny rabbit think she is, Bugs Bunny? Speaking of, let me take a second to sip this carrot juice.

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.  .  .

The thing is, we really don’t know why we do the things we do, or if we think we do it’s because we dug deep to draw something from our past to explain our habits. One thing’s for sure, we are all humans and we do weird shit. (had to bring ya to Pari’, ‘cuse the French).

I guess we just need to be more accepting and refrain from jumping to conclusions. We’re too quick to pass judgement and too slow to create understanding. That’s the overlaying connection, it’s not what sets us apart but what binds us.

.  .  .

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Day Tripper

Got no deeds to do, No promises to keep.

I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.

Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.

Life, I love you; All is g r o o v y ||

59th Street Bridge Song,  Simon & Garfunkel

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It was the first week of May and a heat wave engulfed the city of Los Angeles. A wave similar to that of the ocean when it casts its lazy spell and shifts your energy into a mellow mood. Refusing to become controlled by the heat of a delicate summers daydream, I waited for the blazing sun to slowly cool, then made my way out into the nights setting sun.

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I walked along a windy path which led me in the direction of Elysian Park. Soon after setting out, I found myself walking heel-toe in a straight line, mimicking a linear cracked path that lay beneath my feet. Merely an act of instinct, I soon realized this was my way of actively finding balance within my body.

Before I started dancing, my mom enrolled me every summer in gymnastics camp. I would spend all my time by myself at one station, the walking beam. I worked everyday on perfecting my foot placement, alignment, and balance, which required a lot of focus and patience. Many things a kid has yet to develop.

My mind quickly tries to catch up to me from the past but decides to make a pit stop about two years shy of the present moment when I visited a friend in Santa Cruz, CA.

He was the king of “slacking.”  Although it did seem like time stood still whenever I found myself in Santa Cruz, I’m referring to his mastered technique of slacklining. He made balance look effortless and even when he decided to add an ambitious trick; He seemed to always land on both feet like a cat. When he encouraged me to try, I let shyness overcome me as I feared being embarrassed in front of him. I realized I had lost that sense of pure innocence and wonder we’re all born with as kids. Crazy how much two years can make a difference as I fast forward to the present moment as I’m looking at the world once again through eyes of wonder.

// Restored //

Long-A line made by walking

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/long-a-line-made-by-walking-ar00142/text-summary

.  .  .

As dusk approached, the rambling trail of thoughts I left behind had now brought me to a final realization. About a year ago  I had saved one photo on my laptop from a History of Photography class. It was called “A Line Made by Walking,” by Richard Long. At first glance, there’s nothing overwhelmingly captivating about the photo but never the less it intrigued me at the time. Now as day turns to night, I’m beginning to make sense of the intricate simplicity of this work in relation to my life.

“Nature has always been recorded by artists, from prehistoric cave paintings to twentieth-century landscape photography. I too wanted to make nature the subject of my work, but in new ways. I started working outside using natural materials like grass and water, and this evolved into the idea of making a sculpture by walking…My first work made by walking, in 1967, was a straight line in a grass field, which was also my own path, going ‘nowhere’. In the subsequent early map works, recording very simple but precise walks on Exmoor and Dartmoor, my intention was to make a new art which was also a new way of walking: walking as art.”

 I find myself using nature as a resource. From observation, I’m aware of the relationship between life and art. This notion that life imitates art seems to reappear–But maybe in contrast, we are all art and life/nature are just imitating us.

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We glamorize a life in which we live fast and die young, but we have it all wrong. What if we were to live slow and die wise?  

You see, we label it as laziness if we’re to slow down. Moving so fast we tend to feel like we’re being pulled in several directions because we lack grounding and a connection with what’s truly important. This false reality we paint online doesn’t connect us  it separates us. Maybe that’s what drew me to Santa Cruz in the first place; Its ability to allow me to slow down and reconnect. 

The beauty I encountered that day within my hour journey made we realize one overlying idea. Everything is alive, connected, and communicating you just have to

//L I S T E N//

Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.

Puttin’ on the Ritz

“She learned to survive and reinvent herself.

She envisioned a better, elegant future for herself.

Like me, she knew you had to have a vision.”

-American Hustle

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The Ritz Carlton in Downtown Los Angeles, March 2014

Photographer/Director, Evan Woods

Model/MUA/Stylist, Morgan Ryan 

 

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“There is it,”  he said. I focused my eyes in the direction of Evan’s attention.

The Ritz Carlton.

It shined liked a beacon of light against the dark starlit sky. A diamond amongst all other skyscrapers. Outlined in fluorescent light we were innately drawn to its beauty, like moths to a flame. Only this time we were bringing the heat.

As we made our way up to the lobby, a  dormant volcano in my stomach awakened from its once deep slumber and began to bubble. This feeling can be described as excitement mixed with a dash of danger. As a little girl my dad would ask if I wanted  go on a mission. By ‘mission’ he meant errand, but the aspect of play surely made the mundane feel exciting at that age. Their was a spark of this childhood memory as we entered the 5 star hotel. We merely intended to use the space as our playground and like kids in a candy store that would be no issue.

.  .  .

 I jumped out of the shower when my phone rang.

“Helllurrrr, I’m Here,” sang a familiar voice.

Shit.

The sun was setting and we were in a rush against time. Evan rummaged through my closet as I began doing my makeup, which consisted of a simple bold magenta lip and some mascara on the top lashes. My hair still wet from my shower, Evan encouraged me to leave it and let it air dry. This put me face to face with one of my pettiest fears,  going out in public without styling my hair. To be completely honest, I have always gone out of my way to control my hair and keep it as far away from it’s natural wavy state. At that moment, Jim Morrison reminded me,

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that,

fear has no power,

and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. 

You are free.” 

A good photo comes down to execution and performing under pressure, and you either got it or you don’t. Evan and I began a method of creation in which I simply coin, “guerrilla editorials.” With a spontaneous element to our work, we don’t necessarily plan our shoots. In a way, we go against everything that has been taught about a standard photo shoot. We move based on instinct and intuition. Till this day I still seem to surprise myself  with how easy things work out when you don’t try.

One thing is for certain:

We don’t follow rules,

we go out of our way to break them.

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Sunset Blush: Inside Look of Palm Springs

” You’re not tardy for the party when you are the party.”

– m.r.

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Another Spring Break in Palm Springs and this year was filled with many kodak moments. A short 2 night stay turned into 3 full days of photo shoots, laughs and magic moments not even a camera could capture. Here is just a  glimpse into some of the moments you can expect to see in the next week ahead!

Enjoy.

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ACE Hotel | Palm Springs, March 2014

Awaken The Dreamer

“The secret to success?

It’s simple, consistent originality.”

-m.r.

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Dream boards are useful visualization tools for manifesting your dreams into reality. A constant visual reminder of your goals and intentions helps spark a mental motivation. Ever since I could remember I have been an artist with clear vision. I know what I want and I go after it, by all means necessary. So as a visual learner, having that extra boost of motivation only helps propel me that much closer to attaining my goals and ambitions.

I took a more artistic and unique approach in creating my dream board. I looked through magazines for inspiration. Any words or images that jumped out to me, I ripped out. This was my way of using intuition as my means to reach the root of what truly resonates with me. My background in art and composition is apparent in my use of space, psychic lines, and color coordination. This subliminal collage resembles my tendency to speak in riddles, but art is suppose to be subjective anyways. To get a better idea of my rather ambiguous portrait I thought I would break it down for you.

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My Main Goal (Cara at the Hearts Center):

Become a Face of Beauty in a iconic sense by staying true to who I am. Sharing Love & Originality. Staying driven and persist will cultivate a tunnel vision that can’t be disrupted. I can therefore break down any walls or barriers I may encounter in the pursuit of reaching my ultimate goal of gracing the cover of VOGUE. 

The rest are daily reminders:

– (Smart is Beautiful): there is beauty in Intelligence, be more than a pretty face

– (Nostalgia): Embrace the vintage. It creates feelings/emotions for the viewer

-(Maverick Muse): break the rules

-Use my Passion & Love in everything

-(Flowers): follow your sweetness in life

-(The Magic Touch): psychic capabilities in setting trends vs. following them

-(Changing Your Mind): happiness is a choice, I was taught to always give 110%. The #59  represents my decision to be happy versus sad 59% of the time in the 50/50 option

– (Jesus is my Homeboy): keeping the faith. b.e.l.i.e.v.e.

. . .

This past weekend I reunited with my creative counterpart, Evan Woods, who reminded me of my positivity and optimism. He  said to me in his characteristic sincere & passionate tone,  “Keep up the positivity boo boo. People feel that.” I hope he knows just how much of an impact he’s made on my life and continues to as we progress in this creative pursuit.

In the matter of my first week in LA I managed to allure influential people all around me. I met Britney Spears’ designer, Skrillex’s music manager, Kate Compton followed me on Instagram, met Aaron Ramey, the Co-founder and Creative Director of Babylon Cartel, and last but not least, bumped into Bryant Eslava, continuing the ongoing mystery between me and the photographer. The chances of our paths crossing again in LA hit me in a funny. Guess it just goes to show when you put out positive creative energy you attract it back to you. I think they call that the |law of attraction|.

I’m excited to see where this journey leads next. This is only the beginning.

T.B.C.

(to be continued)

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Venus vs. Mars

“Whether black or white, we both like Mike
We both like Jordans.”

– Jay Z, Venus vs. Mars

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This past weekend I turned 23, the year of Michael Jordan.

I began to reflect on the past with the intention to see just how far I had come this past year in my personal journey. In terms of coming into my own, I surprised myself with my improvement in creating a distinct voice and style for myself here in LA. Fashion is strange, it has its way of evolving and changing on us. The only constant is you. Your style.

Growing naturally into my versatility, I realized my personal style has a certain personality attached to it. While refraining from using the term ego, I can confidently say I have an attitude. It’s apparent in the way I dress and carry myself, in front of the camera or off. Clothes and trends may change but my constant is drawn from a ying-yang source. This innate ability to create a balance between contrasting dualities may be a reflection of my tomboy roots and/or desire to prove girls can be just as strong as the boys. A feminine softness met with a masculine toughness works to compliment each other by creating an intriguing dynamism; Giving you the best of both worlds.

This will be my year. The year of a {classic}.

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Photographer/Director: Evan Woods

Model/Stylist/Hair/MUA: Morgan Ryan

“The Canvas of My Soul”

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LA Canvas Presents: The Romance Issue x No Vacancy

My suede trench coat was softly draped over my freckled shoulders as we sashayed our way up Hollywood Boulevard. A wide brim hat concealed my red-fox fringed hair, which was leaning more on the unkept side. I guess I was going for that effortlessly cool aura tonight anyway.

If it weren’t for the noise of my heels as they met the concrete, I would almost say I felt incognito as we turned off the boulevard onto a side street that led to a back alleyway. My mind retraces the seconds prior when my shoe introduced its rubber sole to one of the shiny hollywood stars. I smile to myself at this ironic vision. How can we admire these famous legends enough to give them their own space on the boulevard just so we can walk all over them like they’re another brick in the wall? Such a contradiction.

We step to the back of the line behind a dark sultry building with a vintage neon sign which illuminated the namesake of this once hotel turned bar, No Vacancy. I felt like Carmen Sandiego, and Ben resembled an Asian James Bond in his silver sports jacket that caught the light, glistening in the almost-full moon that hung above us. To no surprise we catch the eye of one of the guys working the door not long after we arrive. That jacket was eye grabbing but if you asked Ben he would say it was all me who got us in, I guess we can agree to disagree. We slithered in past the crushed velvet rope. I always wondered if bouncers ever had a bad conscience at the end of the day? They must have been cut while waiting in line back in the elementary school days, waiting to buy fruit rollups and chocolate milk. The words, “No budging!” resonate so vividly.

Whatever. We were in.

We entered a dimly lit bedroom/study where a woman welcomed us as she sat properly upright on a bed. Books layered and filled every inch of the wall. As she spoke, I redirected my attention to the woman to my right and before my eyes, the bed began to pull back revealing a secret staircase. I felt as if I was about to walk into a new world or better yet, travel back in time. No password needed apparently, fly apparel sufficed. We had just walked into hipster paradise, Speakeasy style.

The atmosphere was somewhat an “east-coasty” Ivy-League exclusive college house party meets The Great Gatsby. I walked out to the back patio where lights were strung up above my head from the cobblestone building. Presented before me were large circular lanterns that framed an opulent staircase. Dancing down stair by stair in unison to the music, I had arrived.

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Observing smokers congregated by the outdoor fireplace, I felt someone remove my hat from my head. “Really?”, I thought to myself, “Not even five minutes into the party.” I quickly turned around with an embarrassed fake smile and before I could meet his face, a new hat was placed upon my head. “Nice hat,” says the shorter of two dudes with a smirk. They were dressed in leather jackets and had American Spirits in hand. We only spoke for about 3 minutes before parting ways, with our hats back on the heads of their rightful owners of course.

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A DJ was spinning live music from one of the many rooms where bubbly kids danced over oriental rugs, cocktails in hand. I wonder how many careless spills those carpets felt tonight. With so many interesting and young influential people in one place I couldn’t help but feel like I wanted to know everyone’s story.

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As the night progressed I realized many wanted to know my story just as much, if not more. A familiar face stared back at me from across the bar as I waited for my cocktail. Before I knew it I felt a tap on my shoulder. The familiar face turned out to be a stranger yet we both felt as though we had seen each other before. We shared a few laughs and a similar position of LA apartment hunting.

“I don’t think LA is ready for me,” I said slyly.

His response, “I don’t think so either.”

Although I can’t remember his name, the West Hollywood kid had one of the most genuine smiles.

It’s no secret I’m passionately curious. I think it stems from my innate ability to always be a chameleon and adapt to different environments. I dance my way through every adventure with clarity, a fresh state of mind, an unattached freedom, and a limitless open heart. A blank slate. The Canvas of my Soul.

These relationships built, the self-growth from a conversation with a stranger, the music that fills my ears, these are the components that colour my canvas. They create a portrait filled with meaning and beauty.

You see none of us really know what were doing in this whole “life” thing. We’re all just bull shitting our position and playing along, learning from one another’s triumphs and feats. I guess I’m fine with bullshitting my way through life. Plus, I was recently told bullshitting is the highest form of cognitive thought.

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