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CHANNEL orange

“To experience peace does not mean that your life is always blissful. It means that you are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of a hectic life.”

We all know that sinking feeling when things seemingly don’t go our way. I would imagine it feels quite similar to swimming upstream. Tell it to the girl who got her wisdom teeth pulled, the flu, as well as a flat tire in a week’s time. When it rains it pours (I write this as rain pounds the streets of Los Angeles).

Through these growing pains, a lesson can always be learned. Personally I learned rain is the ultimate cleanser…and we can’t control the flow. Nature will work it’s course, and we must ride the tide. We will arrive changed and in the grace of a peaceful sea, eventually, with some faith. Easier to say once the storm has settled.

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To me, in these trying times, the purpose seems to be the ultimate test of one’s faith, strength and character. We may not be in control of everything, but we are indeed in control of our perspective and reactions. That may seem minuscule but it’s truly liberating knowing that we may channel any negative circumstance into pure gold; or what I simply refer to as “transforming the mess into the message.”

We’ve all played the victim at one time or another. Why me? It’s his fault for cutting me off. I have bad luck and so on and so on. I get it. It’s easier to place the blame elsewhere than to take sole responsibility. But the truth is, we are actually co-creators in everything we experience. You might even say we welcomed in this ‘issue’ as an imperative life lesson we subconsciously know we must learn.

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I want to show you that you can enjoy your problems. First and foremost, you have to see these so-called problems as opportunities. If we see them as problems, then we got problems. If we can’t make that shift in thought, we can’t enjoy the journey and grow. Because if you think about it, much of life is purely a figment of our imagination. The going may get rough (at times) but it is what we perceive (overall) that shapes our reality. Why not perceive it in a light that makes life as a whole most exciting?

For whatever reason, you’ve undeniably welcomed this situation into your life. Whether it be a difficult relationship that’s teaching you about yourself in relation to others or a series of unfortunate events that’s testing your patience. We all have something to gather from each (problem) opportunity. Simply looking at it as so, is a great place to begin. A simple change in words and perspective can work magic in your life. Best thing, it’s free. If you read this, I hope one thing: You shift from ‘the victim’ to the ‘the opportunist’ by seeing each problem as an opportunity to improve your life. 

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| MAV M A N T R A |

I transform the mess into the message.

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Another huge adjustment is gratitude. I can’t stress enough how important it is to place your attention and intent in the right places. In the midst of chaos it’s easy to notice what’s going wrong. I do it too. But, what if you were to remember to acknowledge what went right? If you were in an accident, maybe you weren’t injured. Perhaps you lost a valuable item, but now you have space to welcome in something new. Whatever it may be, try to focus on what’s working. This simple shift gives you a new outlook on the situation.

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These are essentially simple (and effective) ways to learn, grow, and become more compassionate, which is why I think we’re all here, don’t you? These tough lessons come as blessings in disguise so that we may work out our issues together. What better way to improve than by learning from one another and being your own guru.

So welcome and face your challenges with an openness that sets yourself up for success. Approach your opportunities courageously and become stronger. Acknowledge what’s going right and become abundant. Be grateful for each and every life lesson, because they will come and go like the ebb and flow, that is fasho. What will remain is mindfulness and the richness of life. An internal gold that no one can touch.

Get (soul) diggin’

M

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| THE O U T F I T |

Featured Deal: A free month of designer sunglasses on DITTO when you use promo code: MAVERICK

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

| THE L I F E S T Y L E |

Vintage Polaroid CameraVintage Typewriter | Ellen Von Unwerth Books

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| FEATURED P H O T O G R A P H Y |

Nat Sin

Steve Madden, Creepers, John Lennon, Muse, Imagine, Strawberry Fields Forever, Duster, Accessories, Los Angeles Blogger, OOTD, OOTD sharing, Outfit Blogger, Women's Fashion, Fall Fashion, What I Wore, Outfit Ideas, Maverick of Fashion, 70's, Straw Hat, Mac Cosmetics, Layering, Artist and Muse, Levi's 511, Levi Jeans, Boyfriend Jeans, Re-imagine a dress, DIY duster, thrifting, fashion on a budget,

|| P L A N B ||

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

– JOHN L E N N O N

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It was a cool October evening in Los Angeles — not quite summer, not quite fall. The sun began to dip behind the industrial buildings that lined the streets of Downtown. As it transitioned from day to night, I began to contemplate the irony of my day ‘on-set.’ I use the term loosely as I tend to shoot with other unconventional artists who embody a similar relaxed approach and finesse. Similarly, we thrive in the fluid and somewhat chaotic unexpectedness of ‘the streets.’

Out here, you can never be entirely sure of what you’re going to get. I guess you could say the same about life. Then again, life imitates art. With that being said, I will preface with the following; this is a story about a plan gone awry. If you can roll with the punches and maybe even color outside the lines, you’ll arrive exactly where you need to be. Somewhere I call PLAN B.

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|| P L A N  A ||

Plan A involved something like this: A classic Bardot outfit against a french inspired street cafe scene. What we got? A 180 of everything I just said. Well, I was never one to believe in Murphy’s Law. I did however always find comfort in the quote by Lennon, “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

What I think Lennon’s stressing is the importance of being flexible and not resisting life’s plans. As humans, we like structure and predictability to feel secure. Becoming best friends with uncertainty and letting life flow are personal skills worth developing. You may even recall some of your fondest memories happened to be a result of fate or the unexplainable.

With that being said, here we go:

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When I began to style a look for my shoot with Ashlyn, I had my head rigidly wrapped around a classic Brigitte Bardot look. Problem was, I couldn’t seem to pull it off with my current wardrobe. Slightly frustrated, I felt my ego creep in and fear began to manifest. I took the uncomfortable feeling as my cue to get quiet and become present. As I stared blankly into my color coordinated closet, a vibrant orange number caught my eye.

I reached for the piece out of curiosity having almost forgotten I owned it. I pulled it out to reveal a 70’s vintage lounge dress in mint condition. I must’ve bought it on one of my thrifting expeditions. As I held it overhead, examining at arms length, I wondered why I had not worn it yet? I threw it on and realized two things:

1. I loved the design and fabric

2. I hated the fit

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|| P L A N  B ||

So I did what I knew best under such circumstances; I performed a quick (and painless) surgery. I began to re-imagine it. I figured if things go wrong, so be it. If things go right, so be it. And with a few quick snips of my orange Fiskars, I was now the proud owner of a 70’s duster. Excitement rushed over me and without second thought, I threw it on over top my current outfit; a pair of Levi’s and a long-sleeved blouse.

I looked at my reflection in awe, not because of my amazing craftsmanship (because clearly I could use help in that department) but because of the overall look. A strange approach to layering now made complete sense. It was unconventional, funky and best of all, it was me. I’ve learned that mistakes are at times more helpful than harmful.

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I met up with Ashlyn just outside the ETO building. We originally had a spot mapped out but much like my original look, it ceased to exist. We walked up to a cafe in a hidden alley illuminated by string patio lights. The gates were locked. In that moment, I heard my dad’s best impersonation of John Candy in National Lampoon’s Vacation echo in my mind, “Sorry folks, park’s closed.” Ashlyn and I look at each other with an encouraging c’est la vie glance and carry on into the unknown.

As we turn the corner, we begin our adventure surprised as we find a bushel of strawberries randomly placed on the sidewalk. The strange encounter made us both laugh and we continued on. I felt as though it was almost placed there for us, a free prop! About 15 feet later, Ashlyn says “Actually, I think I wanna use those.” Without further notice, I pivoted and marched back with a assertive “you read my mind.”

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I learned something plain and simple from this entire experience; strawberries are always a good idea. Well, that and sometimes the so called roadblocks are just opportunities to embrace life; to allow life to redirect you instead of you directing it. Sometimes Plan B can be just as sweet if not sweeter than Plan A.

Without making mistakes, we may never explore new terrain or innovate new things. Instead of forcing our free will, we could use it wisely to choose between a life run by ego or a life in tune with a higher intelligence.

As life continues to surprise me and push my boundaries, I’ll make a better point of allowing. Perhaps you may see for yourself that coloring outside the lines is no mistake at all. Perhaps in falling outside the predetermined box, you create a new street worth exploring. For yourself and others.

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| FEATURED O U T F I T |

Nordstrom Rack, Straw Hat | dRA Blouse | Levi’s, 511 | Steve Madden Holllly Sneaker in Camel Suede | JCPenny Lounge Dress, (cut into duster) Goodwill

Styled by Morgan Ryan

 | FEATURED P H O T O G R A P H Y |

Ashlyn Kudransky

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| PAUL MITCHELL | SCARF TUTORIAL

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.”

M A R Y LOU COOK

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LOOK I | The Sophisticated Neck Tie |

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Step I: Prep

Begin this look with Paul Mitchell’s Hot Off The Press. This thermal protector doubles as a hairspray, leaving you with a nice flexible hold. Pull hair into a low pony or your desired style.

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Step II: Half Fold

Create a vertical half fold by taking the two opposite corners and matching them up to form a triangle.

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Step III: Roll and Fold

Begin to roll in a downward motion toward the tip of the scarf. After each fold, smooth out the surface before continuing. Repeat until you reach the end of the scarf and you’re left with a thin band. (May help to lay the scarf on a flat surface).

Step IV: Tie and Knot

Place the scarf at the back of your neck. (Be sure to conceal the extra material by facing this side toward your neck). Bring the ends around to the front and tie into a knot. Repeat Step IV to create a double knot that will secure the look.

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Final Look: Polished and Poised

Pro Tip: Use The Neck Tie to add a hint of sophistication to any outfit. Maximize the impact by keeping hair minimal or tied back to show off the neckline.

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LOOK II | The Front Twist |

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Step I: Prep

Begin by applying Paul Mitchell’s Sculpting Foam to wet hair. Dry hair with a diffuser, raking your fingers through and scrunching as it dries or simply let it air dry. This will help create smooth waves with touchable texture, perfect for a voluminous topknot.

Anchor, Nautical, Stripes, Lace Up Shirt, Trends, Paul Mitchell, Red White and Blue, Stripes, Silk Scarf Tutorial, Hair Tutorial, Maverick, Muse,

Step II: Half Fold 

Create a vertical half fold by taking the two opposite corners and matching them up to form a triangle.

Nautical, Stripes, Lace Up Shirt, Trends, Paul Mitchell, Red White and Blue, Stripes, Silk Scarf Tutorial, Hair Tutorial, Maverick, Muse,

Step III: Roll and Fold

Begin to roll in a downward direction toward the tip of the scarf. After each fold, smooth out the surface before continuing. Repeat until you reach the end of the scarf and you’re left with a thin band.

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Step IV: Tie and Knot

Place the scarf at the nape of your neck. (Be sure to conceal the extra material by facing that side toward your hair). Bring the ends around to the front and tie into a knot at the crown of your head. Repeat Step IV to create a tight double knot.

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Step V: Tuck 

Take one of the remaining tails and begin to tuck it beneath the existing band. Repeat on the other side until you are left with a seamless band. (You may want to use bobby pins to hold everything in place).

Criss Cross, Red Nails, Red Lip, Beauty, Hair Tutorial, Scarf, Nautical, Stripes, Paul Mitchell, Summer Campaign,

Final Look: Sporty Casual 

Pro Tip: Use The Front Twist as a stylish alternative to a headband. This look helps keep fly-away wisps at bay and your hair out of your face. Perfect for when you’re on the go, playing a sport or on your summer boating expedition! Looks great with hair pulled up in a messy bun or worn down with some wavy texture.

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  LOOK III | The Bow |

Bow Tie, Nautical, Stripes, Bell Sleeve, Trends, Paul Mitchell, Red White and Blue, Stripes, Silk Scarf Tutorial, Hair Tutorial, Maverick, Muse, Hairspray, Hawaii, Awaphui,

Step I: Prep

Slick back hair into a high pony using a coarse bristled brush. Secure with elastic then twirl the ponytail into a firm coil. Wrap the coil around the base of the ponytail in a clockwise direction to create a ballerina bun. Secure with bobby pins. Finish the look with Paul Mitchell’s Awapuhi Wild Ginger Shine Spray to create a luminous shine that doubles as a conditioner.

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Step II: Half Fold

Create a horizontal half fold by taking the top two corners and folding them toward one another to create a rectangle.

Bow Tie, Nautical, Stripes, Bell Sleeve, Trends, Paul Mitchell, Red White and Blue, Stripes, Silk Scarf Tutorial, Hair Tutorial, Maverick, Muse,

Step III: Roll and Fold

Begin to roll in a downward direction toward the tip of the scarf. After each fold, smooth out the surface before continuing. Repeat until you reach the end of the scarf and you’re left with a thin band.

Bow Tie, Nautical, Stripes, Bell Sleeve, Trends, Paul Mitchell, Red White and Blue, Stripes, Silk Scarf Tutorial, Hair Tutorial, Maverick, Muse, Red Nails, Red Lip,

Step IV: Tie and Knot

Place the middle of the scarf at the back of the bun and bring the ends to the front. Tie in a secure knot at the front. Repeat Step IV to create a double knot to shorten the ends. (This will help prep you for the final step).

Step V: Primp and Perfect

Finish off the look by pulling the remaining ends into place and adjust them until they form a bow. You may choose to make this as full or as minimal as desired.

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Final Look: Quirky and Cute

Pro Tip: You may want to use a lightweight hairspray on both the scarf and hair to keep everything in place: (Try Paul Mitchell’s Hot Off the Press). This look doesn’t require heat styling, making it a perfect alternative for those who want a polished look without the damage. Feeling bold? Nix the fancy jewelry and rock this look out at your next cocktail event or big night out!

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| OTMFC |

 MORGAN R Y A N       EVAN W O O D S     GIUSEPPE R I N A L D I        ASHLEY C O F F E Y

A big thank you to all those involved in helping me coordinate, organize and produce this shoot. It was amazing to have each and every one of you on board. Thanks for being a part of my journey!

As my first studio produced tutorial, I would like to say a huge thank you to Paul Mitchell and Quixote Studios for making this dream a reality.

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| R E N E W A L | APRIL MAV HAVE

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“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another and ourselves.”

– J A C K  KORNFIELD

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After the busyness of last month, the focus of April was to reset and renew. Spring is here and is encouraging us all to pause, reflect and recharge our batteries. I like to consider this season as our annual mind, body and spirit tune up.

Last week I made my way to Indio, CA with Evan for a Coachella Party hosted by Paul Mitchell at the Merv Griffin Estate. Using this opportunity to escape the city for the day, we set off into the desert to recharge our batteries.

I began to experiment with some simple techniques during the trip, which I have continued to explore since returning to LA. As a result, I have created a one-week reset plan, which I’m excited to share with you today! The most beneficial method for myself was the ‘detox.’ I focused on taking a break from social media as a means to reconnect by de-connecting. Ironically, when I unplugged, I recharged more efficiently. I’ll jump into that a little later on.

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Being busy is somewhat of a requirement in our modern day society. Unfortunately when we are too busy, not only do we forget to live, we actually become counterproductive. Our healthy habits begin to slip and our communication suffers; we lose focus, connection and sight of our intentions.

Luckily, this doesn’t have to be permanent. With some minor adjustments we can get back on track and be ready to roll. So let’s get started! Here’s my one week guide plus a brief description of what I learned through the process of pausing to reflect and remembering to live a little.

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MIND

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1). Write, Write, Write! 

By doing this one-week challenge, the most noticeable block I was experiencing was lack of communication. I was harboring feelings and thoughts that needed to be expressed. Locked inside, I found it extremely relieving to write it all out; my thoughts, feelings, anger, resentment or even a difficult conversation I needed to have. It was therapeutic not to mention helpful in wrapping my head around difficult thoughts and feelings. Instead of worrying, stressing or reacting, I released, resolved and relieved.

Your Turn: Grab a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. Take 10 minutes to simply jot down your thoughts, feelings, tasks, fears, gratitude, you name it. By emptying your mind onto the paper, you make space for the new. Instead of spending precious time worrying about something, you gain your time and sanity back while reducing stress.

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2). Meditate

The way I became most aware of this lack of communication was through meditation. By engaging in this practice I was able to focus not only on my mind but also on my body. My friend Ashley came over this week to help me clear the energy in my apartment. While she cleansed my place with sage, I meditated for 20 minutes. During the process I noticed a heavy soreness in the left area of my throat. I realized I had blocked energy there because I wasn’t speaking my truth and in return this was causing me stress. By calming down my central nervous system I felt a sense of comfort, safety and relief in having an answer to a question I didn’t have before meditating.

Your Turn: The wonderful thing about meditation is that it’s an excuse to do absolutely nothing. If it’s new to you and you’re wondering, “how can I do absolutely nothing?” I suggest a meditation app such as Headspace for extra guidance or listen to some Zen music and chill out.

Beginner: Begin by counting your breath as you inhale (1 2 3), and (4 5 6) as you exhale. Continue for 1-5 minutes. Moderate: Meditate on a positive mantra or word with each in breath, and release it’s negative counterpart on the out breath (ex. inhale; serenity | exhale; anxiety). Do this for 10 minutes. Challenging: Inhale through your nose for 5 counts, hold your breath for 5 counts, exhale through your mouth for 5 counts. Get into a place of total awareness and see what is brought to your attention. Continue for 20 minutes.

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BODY

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3). Take A Walk

When Evan and I first arrived in Indio we decided to get out and wander. A moment of nostalgia washed over me of Summer’s in New York as a kid drinking root beer floats as we sipped on Mission Hard Root Beers. I felt like I was in two different places at once until I was swept back into the present moment and we began our next adventure by foot. We found a neat neighborhood with some interesting houses making our walk scenic. Not only did we find a great location to shoot some fun images, we also got to move our legs, which felt amazing after sitting in the car all day.

Your Turn: Movement is essential in keeping our bodies at their best. I’d say every opportunity you have to walk instead of driving, take it! The days are longer now and the weather is nice so if you feel drained, get up and out. Just a few minutes a day can improve your lifestyle. Getting up and moving not only aids in digestion but it also provides us with energy and uplifts our mood. Try a 5 minute walk around the block during a lunch break and reap the rewards.

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4). Nap

One of my personal favorites, nap time. Restoration is not possible without sleep. This is the time when our bodies repair themselves from all the stresses, toxins and activity of the day. Last week I couldn’t get to bed early so I took a 30-minute mid-day nap after work. I noticed I was more productive and the quick nap made my work day more pleasant.

Your Turn: Busy lifestyles usually go hand in hand with sleep deprivation. As a means to fit as much as we can into a day, we put sleep at the bottom of the list. I think it should be our first priority because without proper rest we can’t function at our best. To make up for this, try going to bed 30 minutes earlier and notice how you feel in the morning (trust me, your food cravings, mood and overall energy will improve). Make up for lost shuteye by getting a 20 min snooze in during the afternoon if possible. If you work a 9-5, take advantage of that lunch and find a quiet space to close your eyes for 5 minutes. Just make sure to set an alarm!

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SPIRIT

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5). Donate Time

I donated time last week to helping my mom enter an Instagram contest as well as my community by participating in this years LA River Cleanup with Quixote. It was an amazing opportunity to bond with my co-workers while doing something meaningful for my city.

Your Turn: Spending time doing for someone else uplifts your spirit. The one thing that we lack these days is attention. Think about the last time you spent time with a friend or family member and gave them your full-undivided attention. No distractions. No expectations. When we invest our time, we invest in quality relationships, which nurture the soul. The best gift you can give someone is your attention. It not only is a gift to them but yourself. Simply give and experience the feel good vibes.

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 6). Personal Ritual

I focused my nightly ritual this week on the sensory experience of touch. I’ve become more curious about protecting my skin from toxins and how to calm or relieve dis-ease through reflexology. I tried dry brushing for the first time and began to do nightly massages. After my bath I’ll use my favorite massage oil by Shea Moisture and gently work the oil into my skin from my feet up. Once I’m done I’ll simply lay in bed and close my eyes to relax. This truly has made me feel so beautiful and has a soothing effect as it helps me ease into a peaceful nights rest.

Your Turn: Reconnecting with yourself through self-care or any other ritual is a great opportunity to just be with you. The key is to find something your enjoy so that it doesn’t just become another task on your to-do list. Rituals are personal so this should be unique to you. It can be as simple as lighting some candles or incense, praying, writing in your journal, taking a bath or sipping on a cup of soothing tea before bed. Maybe it’s a combo of a few of those! Whatever it is, do it well, do it consistently and remain connected to yourself and your higher energy (whatever that may be for you)!

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MIND BODY SPIRIT

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7). Detox | Take A Break

For myself, the most beneficial above all has been a digital detox. Unfortunately my profession made this a bit difficult but I made progress by minimizing the time I spent consuming and posting on social media. Over the past two weeks I’ve done two, five day breaks where I didn’t post. What I noticed was people actually engaged with me more and for longer. I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder even online.

Your Turn: This is your practice so do what ever feels best for you. Maybe you need to focus your detox on the body so you try a cleanse. Perhaps the media has been swaying you too much so you refrain from reading the news for a day. Maybe toxic relationships are causing you stress so you create some healthy distance from those people. Take note and see where life seems to be giving you the most trouble and allow yourself a break, no guilt.

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Blue, Tiles, Palm Springs, Desert Homes, Desert Fashion, Festival Style, Prada Accessories, Marc Jacobs Clutch, Macrame Shoes,

I hope this helps and you get out there and try some of these tips this Spring. Who knows, maybe one or two of them will stick and become healthy habits you just can’t quit!

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Photography

E V A N  WOODS

 

 

Beauty, Covergirl, Blogger, Beverly Hills, Fashion, Hair, Diversity

A CUP OF S U N | KLS x BLOGGER BABES |

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

-JOAN W A L S H ANGLUND

Beauty, Covergirl, Blogger, Beverly Hills, Fashion, Hair, Diversity

This past weekend marked the official first day of Spring. My Saturday was off to an overcast start but I refused to let it break my sunny spirit. I think such days serve as a reminder to always seek the silver lining. We often forget that the sun has in fact not deserted us, it’s simply hidden, waiting to see if we’ll create our own happiness. I turned on my Tropical House playlist, set my hair in rollers and danced about my room hoping my spirits might lift the clouds. Later that afternoon I would be cruising to Beverly Hills for the Kimora Lee Simmons 2016 Spring Preview hosted by Blogger Babes

(Cue the break through)

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This wasn’t my first Beverly Hills rendezvous, however it was my first blogger event in the fancy hood. Questions loomed in my mind similar to that of the overcast sky that hung above. Would I be accepted? How would the other women hold themselves? Would I feel comfortable? With all the uncertainties clouding my judgement, I decided it was best to wipe the slate clean and allow the thoughts to pass by without attachment. Ironically the moment I did this the sun popped out from behind the clouds and it was a beautiful Spring day. Now all I had to focus on was bringing the best energy I could to the room I was about to enter. I walked up Beverly and made my way into the store with assurance; I was exactly where I belonged at that moment in time. 

I clearly had nothing to worry about. I was instantly reminded of this the moment I was welcomed with a glass of champagne and a familiar face. Ashley greeted me with a friendly hug and a smile and all was well. The room was bright and welcoming. The decor was ultra-femme, minimalist and chic with rose gold accents. There was a supportive energy in the room that left me feeling comfortable and peaceful. I felt as though I could be myself without the need to promote myself.

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The collection was simple, beautifully crafted and luxurious. Primarily black and white looks with a nice balance of mixed mediums such as silk, leather and lace. Ash and I circumnavigated the store checking out the pieces, and a black and white leather moto jacket caught my eye. It had an air of crazy, sexy, cool with its yin-yang appeal and slightly unexpected color-blocked sleeves.

I was pleased to find all the women to be very open, warm and excited to meet one another. There was a genuine glow that poured from the room and it wasn’t the sunshine or bubbly. The thing that I loved most about the event was honestly the women! Don’t get me wrong, I loved the clothes, but this event was beautifully crafted around the clothes and elevated by the people in the room. The energy was undeniable. 

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I met other bloggers who were also chasing their dreams and equally desired to make a difference in the lives of others. The best part was there wasn’t a hint of competition in the room, which was refreshing. Two women I hit it off with were Sasha Frank and Ripsime Paronikyan. Both were on a similar mission to love and accept their natural beauty and encourage others to do the same. I even met a quick witted woman named Cherry who loved my sock/outfit coordination and I loved her humor. 

All in all, the KLS x Blogger Babes event hit the mark on many levels. There was that Beverly Hills class, which played as the backdrop for the celebration of entrepreneurial women. It exceeded my expectations in terms of a social gathering because I clearly decided not to form any expectations. By wiping the slate clean, I experienced an amazing introduction into the world of blogger events. It also helped me see that regardless of profession, status, follower count or appearances, we’re all here to sing individual songs in our own beautiful tone. It served as a reminder that authenticity is far from dead, it’s just getting started.

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| S U N N Y |

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and realize that prisoner was you.”

LEWIS B. SMEDES

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PRESS PLAY

Valentine’s Day seems to be a holiday that stirs up some mixed feelings. The special occasion, which celebrates the purest of human emotions, has in a way been tainted by consumerism and the demand to have a sweetheart. This can easily warp one into believing your worth is dependent on external circumstances. Without realizing it, many of us have bought into the marketing schemes and have thus created expectations, which often lead to disappointment. I can tell you first handedly love is not about flowers, chocolate or a significant other.

I write this as a reminder, mainly to myself, of what unconditional love truly looks like. Love is not validation from others. Love is not co-dependent, and love cannot be bought. To love is to hurt, and to experience both makes it all worthwhile.

This time last year I was in a relationship. Once it was over, I spent the following months reflecting and working through my emotional baggage. In doing so, I was able to turn the mess into a message I wish to share with you today. These three intangible ideas I’ll touch upon allowed me to reclaim my peace, happiness and joy. The best part is knowing that they were cultivated from within, meaning no one can strip them from me. 

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| SELF-CARE |

Self-care is so imperative yet many times misconstrued as selfish. Much to the contrary, self-care proves to be the best way to emotionally ground ourselves so that we may enter any situation with a grand awareness of self. It builds confidence, self-esteem and overall health. In treating yourself with respect, others follow suit.

In my last relationship I started skipping Yoga classes to spend my time with him. Once the blinders came off and I could see clearly, I was shocked. Yoga is something I place great value in for my personal well-being. It was eye opening when I realized I was the one sabotaging my self-care, not him. There was no one to blame but myself. The moment I quit my practice was the moment I lost myself in the relationship. Now I know the balance I find on the mat must also also be applied off the mat in reality.

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| SELF-LOVE |

When you’re hurt and licking your wounds, the focus once again turns to you. Self-love is where compassion is born. For when you no longer have the capacity to be compassionate towards yourself, you no longer have it for others. As what begins within, flows to all.

Any relationship, failed or successful, plays a valuable and versatile role in our life stories. They become our best teachers, our gateways to self-awareness and acceptance. They also become our mirrors, which reflect back to us, our inner worlds. Most people come into our lives to strengthen us so that we can move forward (many times alone). I think it’s quite possible that every strong connection we make with another is an opportunity to test our emotional maturity and capability to let go. For when we accept this simple truth, circumstances cannot define us.

This is why it’s so imperative before entering a relationship to cultivate a strong understanding and respect for self. Self-love cultivates compassion and kindness, which therefore enhances any relationship or connection we have with others because the foundation has been laid. If you imagine a relationship to be a house, you wouldn’t start building without the proper foundation, right? So if self-love is the foundation which we build relationships, you can understand why it’s importance we start here. Through our connection to self and others we can begin to feel safe and at home.

| Self-Love Practice |

1.) Find a quiet space and close your eyes. Begin breathing deeply into your lower belly

2.) Relax into your breath, get into a meditative state while you place your hand over your heart

3.) Recall a painful or stressful situation and visualize the how it felt. Allow the emotional discomfort to wash over you (understand you are not alone, we all feel these emotions)

4.) Feel the warmth of your hand over your heart. Send that warmth to the specific area of your body that’s feeling discomfort

5.) Ask yourself what you need to hear/feel in order to heal. Use whatever comes to mind first and is best aligned with your situation

6.) Repeat the phrase to yourself silently or aloud as many times as needed until you feel peaceful and calm

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| MAV MANTRA |

“I’m worthy of great love. A great love does not define my worth.”

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| FORGIVENESS |

Forgiveness might be the glue that holds a relationship together. While intimacy allows for closeness, it also requires us to be vulnerable. Hurt and love go hand in hand, that’s why they often say you hurt the one you love the most. Growing up we must’ve also heard the phrase, “I’ll forgive but I’ll never forget.” If forgiveness means wiping the slate clean, this quote is the antithesis of forgiveness. For if we can never forget, then we are guaranteed to carry the messy pain from our past into our present.

Post break-up I tried to forget everything, the memories, the pain, the laughs. Ironically all that did was strengthen its power over me. It wasn’t until I made the decision to wipe the slate clean, with forgiveness, that I finally moved past the hurt. I could smile again because I had a newfound respect for the relationship and what it taught me.

Last year my dad introduced me to a Hawaiian practice called Ho’oponopono, a healing technique that assists in the process of forgiveness. What’s nice about this practice is it’s simple and useful for all. It truly helped me to see there’s a result to every action we take. Regardless of your position in the disagreement, we could all use some forgiveness. If possible, use this technique and verbalize in person. If that’s not possible for whatever reason, you can use this as a self-healing practice in meditation or practicing it aloud or through writing. I chose to write mine in the form of an apology letter to give myself closure.

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| FORGIVENESS PRACTICE |

1.) “I’m sorry.” 

(I’m sorry I judged you. I’m sorry there’s unresolved energy between us)

2.) “Please forgive me.”

(Forgive me for my judgments. Forgive me for creating separation between us. Forgive me for walking away)

3.) I love you.”

(Recall to mind moments or reasons why you love this person. What did they add to your life) 

4.) Thank you.”

(Show gratitude for the experience. Be thankful for the opportunity to grow, the life lesson and joy)

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| WRITING A NEW STORY |

Regardless of your circumstance this year, use this holiday to show pure, unconditional love however that looks to you. That could be towards yourself, a special someone or a complete stranger. The point being we all deserve to love and be loved. Maybe you enjoy giving out loving compliments or speaking highly of others. Maybe you’re creative and enjoy writing love poems, notes or songs. Or maybe it’s creating a personalized card, which expresses your gratitude. (Remember, expressions of love that cannot be replicated/purchased tend to be the most valuable). If you do anything this Valentines Day, let it be forgiveness. Forgive anything that may have come before and step into the present with an open heart.

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IN COLLABORATION WITH THE M I G H T Y COMPANY 

| PHOTOGRAPHY |

Evan Woods

| CREATIVE DIRECTION |

Morgan Ryan

| MUSES |

Cameron Arnett & Morgan Ryan 

P O L E T T E GIVEAWAY | BE DIFFERENT

“Starting from scratch might have been the biggest chance life has offered me.”

PIERRE WIZMANCEO of Polette

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| MEET POLETTE |

Polette holds the golden ticket when it comes to unique and affordable prescription eyewear. Excuse my French, but this brand has their shit together! For those of you unfamiliar with Polette, it’s one of the most innovative optic retailers in the e-commerce game. With 1,000 frames to choose from online (all original designs created in house) and a new collection released every week, you’re guaranteed to find something to add to your collection. With their fresh approach and positioning, Polette has become a leading contender in the optic industry. 

Polette makes quality style accessible to all while encouraging you to be different. The one-of-a-kind frames range from $6.99 to $49.99 and lenses from $9.99 to $89.99, which are all anti-scratching/anti-reflective. You also have the option of customizing the lenses to suit your individual needs as well. The best part in my eyes is you don’t have to jeopardize quality for quantity. What makes Polette so innovative is their understanding of functional fashion. 

Each day of the week you can swap one frame for another and totally transform your look because they’re so cost effective. This opens the door to creating a wardrobe of eyewear, which for guys could be the simplest solution to your fashion accessory dilemma. Even if you’re not a fashion chameleon, Polette still finds a way into your heart because who doesn’t enjoy updating your look every now and then without breaking the bank?

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| CONCEPT |

If you’re anything like me, you might be curious how they keep prices so low. Here’s the deal, because the frames/lenses are provided straight from their workshops, there are no intermediaries. Their in house opticians also handle all the prescriptions, guaranteeing your frames are in good hands from start to finish.

This concept allows for an 80% discount and also makes the frames truly unique to Polette. From retro to vintage or classic to eccentric, there’s a design for every face and individual. If you’re interested in hand polished, high quality acetate frames, be sure to check out their ‘L’ATELIER’ selection. 

| HISTORY |  

The guy behind this revolutionary concept is, Pierre Wizman. Wizman began building his first company in France after quitting school at the age of 16. Beginning with only 2,000 E in his pocket, Wizman transformed his vision into reality and what we know today as Polette.

With the help of his associate, Pauline Cousseau, they launched the website in 2011 and made their first sale shortly after. Now fully up and running, they instill their young dynamic staff with their “self-taught” method, a-typical personalities and “be different” motto. With different perspectives, the one thing they all have in common is the strong desire to share a one-of-a-kind experience.  

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| THE POLETTE EXPERIENCE |

When I first arrived on Polette’s landing page I was excited by all the options. Right away I saw a handful of frames I loved for different occasions, each uniquely different. The only issue I had was narrowing down my selection. I usually dislike online shopping because I enjoy a more tangible experience. However, I was happy to find a virtual try-on station, which made it easy to find the best frame for my face.

I finally landed on a pair of Massimo transparent mirrored sunnies. I cannot begin to describe the amount of compliments I received (and continue to receive) whenever I wear them around. Unfortunately these particular frames are no longer in stock, however check out similar mirrored lenses here. Next on my list? A pair of Steve Jobs inspired wire frames from their new e-polette collection. This collection is specifically designed to protect your eyes from the harmful artificial light emitted from computer screens. (Like I said, function meets fashion).

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| GIVEAWAY |

Because I had such a pleasant experience with Polette, I wanted to extend the same opportunity to you. One lucky winner will win a Polette frame of their choice. Here’s how to enter:

| RULES |

1.) Leave a comment below providing a link to your favorite pair

2.) Follow The Maverick Muse on Instagram & Polette on Facebook  Instagram  Twitter

That’s it! Winners will be selected at random and announced next week on my Instagram, so be sure to follow the link above! So what are you waiting for? Get shopping on Polette.com. Can’t wait to see your picks. Stay tuned!

SHOW ME THE T O N I | Part II

NEW YEAR | NEW YOU

As a new year begins and we all focus on our resolutions, I decide to go an alternative route and create intentions throughout the year. This means everyday I will wake up with purpose. I will be aware of what I am doing but also why I am doing it. However, in order to do so I must be fully present and clear. Resolutions/intentions require a plan/ritual as well as discipline. The plan is the easy part (if it’s simple) but the discipline part, well that you must acquire.

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| MAV MANTRA |

Empty what is full, fill what is empty.

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CLEAR SPACE | CLEAR MIND

I’m an extremely visual person, meaning if I see clutter, I feel cluttered. As this affects my energy and ability to work, I now realize the importance of a tidy workspace. For me, the first step is to reduce. Since I complete all my creative work from home, I need my office to feel minimal yet inspiring. I began throwing away old items that no longer served me. Instantly I felt a weight lift from my mind as my apartment began to take on a different air. My room became a sanctuary and my living room became a workspace.

HEAVY vs. LIGHT

Next comes organization. Now that I can move more freely, it is possible to re-organize my life with the remaining necessities. I bought a planner. I got file folders. I started to find my plan, a roadmap. That’s when I found the idea of light vs. heavy lifting; a method where you segment your to-do list based on the amount of energy it requires. Then I found my flow, a rhythm.

OFF THE MIND | ONTO PAPER

The night before I write out tomorrow’s tasks. This organizes my thoughts and prepares me for the day ahead. Secondly, it serves as a stress relief as it clears my mind of worry and therefore helps me sleep. This is what I call off the mind, onto paper. I divide tasks between two columns, heavy vs. light and promise myself to be reasonable and balanced in my expectations. (Need a guide? Try a planner with a pre-made checklist like this one from Anthropologie).

BYE, PROCRASTINATION

  I make it a point to focus on the heavy stuff first in order to get it out of the way. What I found in return was this created a reward program if you may. No dessert before dinner ring a bell? The whole concept of having the sweet finish to something substantial has been around since I was two. Trust me, I tried eating my dessert before every meal. Sometimes I still do. However, finishing your work before playing is meant for your benefit and here’s why:

When you promise yourself something after the hard work is completed, you appreciate it more. Ideally when you complete your heavy task first, you can check that off your list and fully enjoy your light task or reward. Of course we want to rebel from discipline but discipline can be great if we re-work our definition and feelings towards it. In truth discipline creates a lifestyle of self-improvement and fulfillment.

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 RESULTS

I tried this method out for a week and for me, it worked. I noticed new waves of productivity and clarity. Along the way I learned some valuable lessons too. I found that in having balance in work (or any area of life for that matter), makes all the difference in having an enjoyable process and experience.

LESSONS

-Be reasonable

-Focus on the task at hand

– Take a break if you reach a point of mental/creative exhaustion

– Come back to it later

-Plan the night before

-Use decrement. If the day is very heavy make sure to counter balance it to avoid burnout! (Or lighten your load)

-Use playtime to re-new (meditate, take a nap or a bath, eat a snack, go for a walk, etc.)

– Rest is okay! It can refresh your mind, perspective and creativity (just don’t get lost in the fun zone)

-Don’t feel bad if you don’t complete everything, simply move it over to tomorrow

-Applaud yourself for what you did complete

– Have fun!

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Activity is imperative but so is resting. Try to find a healthy balance between the two! I guarantee if you do, 2016 will be prove to be a successful and productive year for you! This is the year of foundation building. I hope you create the blueprints and habits needed in order to flourish in the years to come. 

Get digging, start blooming, and show me the monnnnnney!

|| MUSE | STYLIST||

Morgan Ryan

|| PHOTOGRAPHY ||

Puno

|| FEATURING ||

TONI

SHOW ME THE T O N I

“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”

-ARISTOTLE

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TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING | IS TOO MUCH

We currently live in a distracting world and an over-active society, exposing us to more information than ever before. For some, this has created anxiety or even mental illnesses such as ADD or FOMO. We tend to believe that success requires us to multi-task and actively pursue something at all times. Having felt the effects of this pressure, I was eager to find relief.

I tend to be a ‘yes’ person. If you’re anything like me, you probably have the tendency to bite off more than you can chew. While being busy is great, I’ve found it’s equally important to build in periods of inactivity or stillness. In order to find balance in work we must have balance in life, otherwise we experience overload (aka overwhelm).

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Although my personality allows me to successfully multi-task, I would often feel scattered or stressed. I began to wonder, how could one be fully aware if the mind is in two places at once? It became clear to me that in order to be present one must fully focus on the topic at hand.

This notion became clearer when I first met my favorite teacher at Chapman, Cory O’Connor. Cory provided the blueprint I needed to realize there might be a more effective way to work in today’s digital age. A believer in meditation, Cory brought the practice into the classroom. He was the only teacher I had that led group meditations before class. As a result, I began to experience class in a new way; I was focused and therefore enjoyed myself since I was sharp and present.

This opened my eyes to a new world of effectiveness, and I have applied his advice to all areas of life. As 2016 is already off to a busy start, I feel compelled to share with you some helpful habits to cultivate in order to stay focused and achieve your goals. The biggest message I hope you take away as I did with Cory is: tune in, listen and find balance. I promise, once you master this self-awareness you will find perfect alignment in any area of life you apply it to. Be sure to check back tomorrow for Part II when I’ll offer some tips for welcoming abundance and success this year!

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In Memory of Cory O’Connor

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THE M A V E R I C K MUSE feat. TONI

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| PHOTOGRAPHY |

Puno

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CONVERSATIONS WITH LOOKBOOK

“We can’t imagine a cuter and more creative interpretation of the iconic Morton Salt Girl by Morgan Ryan. We love the look and also her informative and personable response to the prompt.”

LOOKBOOK 

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LB: Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you live.

MR: My name is Morgan Ryan. I was born and raised in Albany, New York and have since moved to Los Angeles, CA. I’m currently living in Silver Lake, a young creative neighborhood outside of Downtown LA. I live to inspire and entertain others. To me, the clearest indication of one’s well-being is their smile. Having the opportunity to breathe some life and laughter into another’s life brings me joy.

LB : What are your passions?

MR:  There are many things I’m passionate about but generally speaking they all revolve around creativity. My childhood was centered on the act of motion, which was huge for my creativity. I was enrolled in dance classes and private drawing lessons so at an early age I was already placing value on art and creativity. I’m grateful for opportunities I had growing up. I attribute my attention to detail, concept of color and composition to my childhood.

LB: How did you first become interested in fashion and why is it important?

MR: I was always into fashion but it wasn’t until I matured that it became more of a prominent influence. As a teen I was pretty shy so any form of art was an outlet for me to speak confidently. I found fashion to be my language of choice. It held this ability to speak volumes merely through a visual cue. To me that’s powerful.

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LB: How do you describe the fashion scene in where you live?

MR: In Los Angeles it’s all about creating a scene. When that’s applied to fashion, anything goes. I would say it’s nothing shy of flashy eccentric mixed with bold innovation.

LB: What do you love about living in your city?

MR: It’s beauty and vastness. LA is visually stimulating and great in providing variety. I can hit the city to absorb some of its energy but I can just as easily escape to nature to find some solitude. Having so many options is refreshing. 

LB: Tell us your top 3 places to visit in your neighborhood

MR: Elysian Park, Ostrich Farm and Sunday’s Best Thrift.

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LB: Tell us about your average day.

MR: I lead a holistic lifestyle so I enjoy cultivating my day around the mind-body-soul approach. My alarm usually goes off at 5:30 am, I’ll set my intention for the day and play some music as I get ready. I’ll head to work at Quixote Studios around 7:00 am and make my way home to meditate unless I have a meeting or shoot scheduled. I’ll usually end the day with some reading, free writing, cooking or yoga.

LB: Your favorite color of the moment is:

MR: Marigold.

LB: Describe your personal style.

MR: I don’t believe my style can be easily pinpointed. There are definitely traces that allude to a vintage aesthetic yet I seem to find a quirky and fresh approach to modernize it. I would say my style is classic, quirky, eccentric, fearless and playful…if it had to be labeled to a single word it would be Maverick.  

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LB: Where are your favorite places to shop?

MR: For trendy yet affordable finds, I really love Zara and Asos. I’m a huge bargain shopper, however I’ll occasionally splurge on staple pieces at Nordstrom or Macy’s. For unique finds I hit up vintage or thrift shops. I think thrifting always appealed to me because it has this element of history and discovery. I was never one to look towards the mannequin to learn how to shop or dress, that seemed too easy. I always wanted to use my imagination, so I found ways to go against the grain when shopping.

LB: Who are your fashion icons?

MR: I’ve always had a lot of respect for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He would turn the blazer of his school uniform inside out so that bright lining would show. I remember thinking that was so G; it definitely inspired me to always think different. Other influencers include Lauren Bacall, Bianca Jagger, James Dean, and Iris Apfel. 

LB: The first thing you look at in another person’s outfit is:

MR: Their shoes. I think shoes say a lot about the individual. Overall, I look to see how their outfit is composed. I notice their choices. It’s a clear indication of their personality.   

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LB: A fashion rule you always break:

MR: I thoroughly enjoy breaking all the so called ‘fashion faux pas.’ I’ve come to find that all the don’ts eventually become do’s because fashion comes in cycles. The fashion rule in particular I enjoy breaking is to dress your age. I think this comes down to one’s definition of age, which is subjective, and not everyone looks or acts their age.   

LB: What is the biggest fashion fiasco you’ve encountered?

MR: Honestly, nothing notable. I don’t take myself too seriously when it comes to fashion; it’s supposed to be fun.  

LB: What do you think is the most recent notable trend to appear/reappear, and what are your thoughts on it?

MR: Patched denim. I’m glad it’s coming back around, it’s very nostalgic to me having grown up during the 90’s. I love the idea of a DIY jean jacket–collecting my own patches from meaningful adventures and trips. It makes it personal and unique. I started one this year and added my first patch from my trip up to Big Sur.

LB: What is your next “must have” purchase?

MR: A classic trench coat.  

LB: What are your top five most worn or most loved items in your closet?

MR: I would have to say my denim jacket, fitted cream blazer, Nike Airs, Doc Martens, and this vintage silk scarf I tie into a bow in my hair.  

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LB: What is your personal favorite outfit on Lookbook by you, and by another member?

MR: My favorite is also my most recent, ‘When It Rain’s It Pours.’ I just really feel it encapsulates where I currently am in my personal style transformation. I also really dig Mike Q’s” This is how I pose.” It’s really surreal yet effortlessly cool.   

LB: What’s on your bookshelf / playlist / movie list at the moment?

MR: Read | On The Road by Jack Kerouc, Mastery by Robert Greene. Tunes | SG Lewis, The Internet, Tom Misch, HONNE, Jaymes Young. Movies | By The Sea.

LB: Filters or #nofilter? Why?

MR: Filters. I really enjoy the process of watching a photo come alive through the editing process. It takes it up a notch.  

LB: What camera do you use?

MR: For everyday use I like my iPhone because I always have it with me. For road trips and vacations I enjoy using my 35 mm film camera. For concerts I opt for the good old disposable camera.   

LB: What can’t you live without?

MR: Confidence.  

LB: Next place you want to travel to:

MR: I would really love to go to Havana. It seems very colorful and lively, plus I love vintage cars. I would feel very inspired by that culture and type of landscape. 

LB: In 5 years, you will be:

MR: Living a simple life in Bali. I see myself immersed in the island lifestyle, surfing and being out in nature. THE M A V E R I C K MUSE is a successful brand and I handle all my projects and collaborations from the comfort of my home.  

LB: What would you say to someone seeking fashion advice or life, in general?

MR: Give yourself time. Experiment, play and refine. Try new things because it will help you find yourself. Sometimes in order to learn who you are you must learn who you are not. Be brave, be bold, break the mold. Most importantly do everything with confidence. 

LB: If you can host a contest, what kind of contest would you ask the Lookbook community to participate in?

MR: I would love to host a wanderlust inspired contest. Participants would be asked to submit a look that showcases their style influenced by their surroundings. The contestant would win a trip to explore a new city. Since Lookbook has an international community, I think it would be a great way to expand awareness. It promotes an understanding of fashion in relation to environment as well as the need to expand one’s cultural barriers.

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To read my creative brief and get an inside look at my creative process behind the Morton Salt Girl costume this Halloween, head over to Lookbook to view my entry!

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Event Photography | Aaron Pryor

Event Location | Quixote Studios