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

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

– Diana Vreeland

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

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

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

|| MAV MANTRA ||

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

● ◎ ●

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

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
.  .  .
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

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.

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.

.  .  .

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

 

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