AIR FORCE 1 || 5.18.15 || LOOKBOOK HIGHLIGHT

“Do what you love and find what brings you joy. If you are unsure, make it a point to ask yourself because I’ve come to find, as you commit to your personal joy, you begin to attract an outpour of joyful moments, merely because you radiate that essence.” 

– MORGAN RYAN
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In some shape or form, my New York roots shine through in all I do. Since moving to Los Angeles, I found myself occasionally bending my “branches,” as a means to acclimate to my new home. However don’t get the wrong idea, I never let it sway me from rocking my Nikes in a sea of Vans. Today I stand firmly in LA, rooted from the soul of NY, as I celebrate a new found balance of both coasts, and my debut on Lookbook’s Instagram.

Let us rewind a bit to the beginning. As I set out on this journey, I had high hopes for abundance and success. However, somewhere down the line I let the joy and love for the the process slip away. I suppose this was the point where I began to manifest from a place of lack versus a place of abundance. Enter the moment I became my own worst enemy. I was cutting myself off from the very things I desired and ultimately stripping the joy from my passion by focusing on what I had not accomplished and what I did not have.

 As I came to realize this and work through these emotional blocks, I returned to yoga and meditation last week as a means to ground myself. In this restored balance, I re-establish a positive relationship with my career and my intentions behind it. This helped move me from a place of negative resentment and into a higher vibration of love.

With the approaching New Moon, I decided to set these new intentions into motion in the most creative, joyful way I knew possible: A dream board, aka collaging. This is a visualization technique I love to do in order to manifest my aspirations. I grew up with art as a central element in my life. In that regard, working through this inner work in the form of art sparked some enthusiasm. Artistic or not, this project is an amazing way to get your creative juices flowing.

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This month I chose to begin my focus with health. For me, health is essential in order to move forward in anything I do. It helps me take the first step in the right direction to positively honor myself and my body so that I can confidently step into my creative power, therefore positively representing a brand or product.

As I cut through pages of magazines, I didn’t think as I let my subconscious mind take over and choose whatever words or images it gravitated towards. I mean realistically speaking, it’s kind of hard to think if you’re already rapping Nelly lyrics, shoulder shrugging, and tapping your feet while meticulously cutting motivational phrases. If you can do all of that and be in deep thought, then you my friend got skills.

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As I felt this lighthearted vibration of my childhood move through me, joy began to return to my life. No, literally; The mere symbol of joy just that flew into my life. As I hear a repeating thud, I look above to find a hummingbird that has flown into the skylight above. Trying to escape and find its way back to freedom, I can’t help but feel pity for the little bird. I watch him struggle, feeling out of his element, and I instantly feel connected. As some of you may know, I already have an affinity with hummingbirds.

I realized this rare and special occurrence held some key lessons and hidden messages. Relentless and persistent to say the least, the hummingbird was determined to get where he wanted and deserved to be. However there was a downfall to his method. You see, he was so set on the idea of escaping through the skylight that he couldn’t see the bigger picture. I then reflected on how there was a bit of myself in that stubborn bird. It was an omen, a message, a reminder to stop, think, re-evaluate, step back, and see the bigger picture.

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 “A baby Hummingbird in the house is said to be indicative of new beginnings and chances to start again. Some people believe that its presence may be a sign that a spirit has ascended to help in current issues within your life. Be prepared to be fledged into a new way of living.”

.  .  .

Symbolizing long journeys, joy, and resilience, this rare encounter ironically had a lot to do with myself and my current situation. With the wrong focus, attitude, and vibration, I set myself up for failure. So I returned to gratitude. I began to realize l must return to finding joy in the process versus the destination. I must enjoy the journey. For in the journey, we come across rare encounters like this of the hummingbird, and only if we stop to truly experience these fleeting moments can we then live our truth by extracting from it a message or the story we were born to share. I can confidently say with optimism, that I look forward to the journey ahead. Without a doubt in my mind, I welcome what awaits me around the bend.

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Today, waiting around the bend was Lookbook with a lovely feature highlighting my style. As I took in the moment of pure ecstatic joy, a huge smile swam across my face. Then it hit me like a crashing sea: May 18, 5.18; 518 is the area code of my hometown, Albany. It just goes to show that your energy definitely plays a role in what you’re attracting in your life and that there’s no such thing as a coincidence, it’s merely divine timing.

As I return to my roots, I have a newfound appreciation for my accomplishments and a fresh optimism for what is yet to come. Today marked the beginning of my journey; a life rooted in joy, belief, and progress. Always remember who you are along the way and that the destination is in fact the journey. As the New Moon in Gemini encourages us to return to our roots we will see ourselves gravitating towards the people and places we feel at home most. For me, I will beginning my journey with an adventure to Carmel to visit my childhood best friend, Rye. Ironically, she is a Gemini 😉 As always I look forward to sharing the moments and memories captured along the way. Until next time, rap wid me:

“High top strap with the gum bottom

I leave um strapped and laced and come up out um.”

-NELLY

COMING OF AGE || 24 ||

You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence,

as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.”

Douglas MaCarthur

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This year, I truly felt a sense of “coming of age,” which I regard separate from “growing up.” This is because characteristically, I will never lose my jovial youth, it’s just part of who I am. Coming of age for me is an understanding of who you are, what you’ve seen, and where you’re going. I consider myself lucky to have lived an authentic life in this space falling somewhere between kid and adult, for here I have found undeniable purpose, courage, wonder, wisdom, laughter, and beauty.

 In this “coming of age” thing, I’ve learned life’s journey is meant to be shared, and it’s with those who you choose to surround yourself with that shape that experience. This is the exact reason why this years celebration was so special to me. It was a fun weekend filled with pleasant surprises and a few destinations.

DESTINATION 1:

Orange County.

I spent the eve of my birthday in Orange with my best friend and creative partner, Evan Woods. The small antique town was the first place I called home upon arriving in California 6 years ago, and it will forever hold a special place in my heart. However this place wouldn’t be as special to me if it weren’t for the people I think of every time I visit. With each arrival comes a new wave of nostalgia much different from the one before.  I smile upon the speed at which life progressed yet I still feel a desire to regress. I gratefully thank my memory for the moment in which I was able to relive, and carry on my way into the unknown upon a familiar road.

As I arrived at Evan’s place, I was greeted with an iconic E. Woods scare. Popping out from behind the dark abyss of his bathroom, he successfully sent my shrieks echoing throughout his entire house. Already breathless, the master of surprise got me once again as I opened the door to the studio to find a complete set filled with 70 tie-dye balloons, configured into a birthday throne. We played, then got down to business and “worked”, then played some more until a balloon would pop, then we screamed, then laughed some more. Post-shoot, we danced around the studio pretending to be fitness instructors, encouraging our pseudo audience to “drop that Cheetos bag” and move to the Hi-NRG music with us. We giggled until our stomachs hurt. It was not a bad way to ring in the birthday if I must say.

DESTINATION 2:

Hermosa Beach.

The next day, I spent my birthday happily relaxing in Hermosa Beach. I lived simply and enjoyed the down time and peace that comes with life at the beach. A slower pace paves the way for deeper breathes. As for the rest of the chapter, that will have to be left to the imagination. Hey, a smart girl knows when to reveal and when to keep to herself.

I will leave you with this,

I was treated like r o y a l t y for the day.

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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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