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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THE T H I N I S H LINE

“Some people want it to happen,

some wish it would happen,

others make it happen.”

-Michael Jordan

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As I made my way up the third concrete hill of my hood, I repeated to myself,

// you’re stronger than you know //

For the entirety of my run, I compared my physical stamina to that of my mental endurance. In life there will always be hills. Most of us see the hill and run for cover, I know I used to. Some attempt to climb and fail halfway. Only a few see it and run for the top, for they know a spectacular view awaits them as well as a sense of triumph that accompanies those last few steps.

If you feel like you’re the one who is stuck in limbo, like myself, remind yourself of the importance found in fortitude of diligence. Remind yourself of what matters; that you crawled until you could run again because you knew one day you would be strong enough. It’s the art of the climb. The Journey. Those who push make it to the top, even if they have to crawl. That’s the thin line that distinguishes mediocrity from greatness.

For me, It’s safe to say today was one of those days. A hill day. Not even intervals, just straight hill. One where your hope is shattered, your belief is weary, and the heat, paralyzing. Everything seems to irritate you. The only thing I wanted to do was escape from the ball and chain was the attachment to my computer, which, by now, was overheating in exhaustion. I broke away from ‘cyber reality’ and made my escape for the freedom and solitude of the great outdoors.

My optimism was rattled, but never shattered. Reflecting back on the day, there was truly no reason for any lows to affect my highs. I was presented with challenges from the outside world, and, well, I’ve got a competitive spirit—so challenge accepted!

I’m learning to take control of the reigns of attitude when thrown a curveball. Today, I ended up landing a Brand Affiliate program with Lulus, as well as representation as a Brand Ambassador for WhatIWear. So, really not a bad day at all. I just lost sight of the positives because I was too entangled in what I perceived to be the negatives. What I am slowly learning is that perception is reality and that you are the creator of that reality. This happen for a reason and you become what you fuel. If you feed the victim role you’ll become the victim, but if you nurture pacifist, you’ll be rewarded with peace of mind.

My peace of mind came in the form of a daily reminder. The Hummingbird. Flying so effortlessly and with more strength than ever, I instantly smiled at this diligent little creature. If I never learn the exact meaning of this symbolic reoccurrence in my life, I’ll know it at least reminds me to always smile and feel resilient. Someone once told me, “your smiles are your alms,” and because it was you, I’ll never forget the power of my smile.

// I guess your attitude really does define your altitude //

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FLIGHTLESS B I R D || 05.12.14

Soaring east–

Three birds took flight

 chasing away the demons & shadows of your yesterday.

M.R.

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As the Summer sun trapped its heat in my apartment, I began to lose energy. Before I could melted into a relaxed state similar to that of a sauna, I decided to kill two birds (never a Mockingbird) with one stone; I headed out for a late afternoon stroll to escape the heat and re0energize. This has become something I look forward to each day and a rewarding experience to say the least.

Four minutes into my walk I end up dropping my iPhone, shattering the screen. I guarantee you I am the most graceful klutz’s you’ll ever encounter. But instead of reacting I just let it be. I pivoted at the end of the street for my return up the hill and the idea of manifesting your own reality resurfaced from the depths of my restless memory. Something or someone said to me,

If you need something, just ask for it. 

Is it that easy? Can I really just ask for an opportunity to get a new iPhone? I smiled to myself for I was happy I could transform a negative into a positive and chase any trace of pessimism away with a dose of optimism. As this thought passed, I looked up at a tree that stood majestically in front of me. Its limbs sprawled with blossoms delicately placed along each intricate branch. In between these branches something appeared–a hummingbird. She stopped long enough for me to notice but quick enough for her beauty to be missed. Having occurred consecutively after a moment of clarity made the impact seem even more surreal. This little bird won’t leave my side, for she plays a pretty song in my life story. I’ve never met a creature so delicate yet so strong. These are the moments that allow me to see life for how it truly is,

//beautiful//

Meditation Music

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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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Pretty Thoughts

You looked at me with certainty.
I couldn’t look away.
Took your jacket off like,
Like you were here to stay.
Chasin’ your pretty thoughts
And your plastic love.
There goes my mind,
Let it go.
You’re that lace trimmed danger,
One day you’ll be the face of a stranger.

-Pretty Thoughts, Alina Baraz

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We were dancing and I was feeding off the energy of everyone around us. We weren’t necessarily dancing together but we seemed to compliment eacb other nicely as people undeniably noticed us. He looked at me with his effortlessly cool smile and said,

“You’re the freest spirit of them all.”

I know I’ve always maintained an air of freedom about me and I’m aware of my ability to adapt to any environment,  but I never truly connected myself to the word “free-spirit,”not until that moment. I guess it’s because connecting myself to a word then begins to feel like a label, and I tend to run away from any type of restriction. (Yet again another hint that my spirit needs freedom to roam, guess he’s right)  You never really believe something until you hear it from someone whose opinion matters.

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 As a result of my curiosity and love for the unknown, I learned more about the term and as a result I give you The Free-Spirit Commandments:

1. Be Free

 live your life as a free agent and don’t be afraid to contradict yourself

2. Pursue your Passions

but also take the time to figure out what they really are – which is arguably much more difficult. 

3. Let Go of Barriers

when you’re brutally honest about the barriers in front of you can you find solutions for moving past them.

4. Let Go of Rebellion

disliking something simply because it’s conventional is just as mindless as liking it for that same reason.

5. Be Here Now

engage with the people, places, and things around you on a deeper level and you’ll find that your reactions to them will suddenly become a lot more authentic

6. Starve The Ego

the death of authenticity; once you become more interested in impressing than being, everything you’ve been working toward will disappear.

7. Honor Others Freedom

remember that your freedom ends where everyone else’s begins.

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|I figure you can’t take life too seriously, it will begin to laugh at you|

 

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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.

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 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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Teenage Wasteland

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Golden Slumbers by The Beatles plays through my mind as beams of sunlight creep through the canvas sheathed windows . As I open the door to  greet the sunshine that welcoming knocked, I’m instantly paralyzed by the intensity of the desert heat.  I surrender to the warming embrace of the sun and lift my face in exhilaration towards the breathtaking skyline. The view is a spectacular sight, where the mountains meet the endless blue sky . I look down at the pool area from the balcony to catch a wave of nostalgic daze.   The crystal clear pool water looks like a quenching oasis, adorned with circular shaders scattered alongside lounge chairs where vacationers sip on cocktails and sway along to  indie pop music and the classics such as, Bob Dylan.

I couldn’t help but feel as though I was transported to another decade…

I walked directly into the 1960’s.

The Ace Hotel has maintained the retro essence and culture of Palm Springs through its decor and architectural design. Classic shades of cream and burnt orange splash the walls. As you walk into the hotel room, you can’t help but feel as though your a rebellious teenager crashing at someones pad for the weekend while they’re out of town.  This ‘lived in’ shag pad feel is created with posters and magazine clippings hung on the paneled walls, giving it a hipster dorm room flair. The light fixtures are two toned lights with bulbs on either end, one is red and the other is white, creating a cool option for mood lighting.

There was so much life at the Ace Hotel and Palm Springs in general, a sense of a long lost soul creeped into my bones. I definitely felt a sense of home here, maybe many lifetimes ago I had been here once before.

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