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S U R R E A L ( I T Y ) | PART II

Head over to SURREALITY || Part I for a recap on how Mitch and I met

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(Past Reflection)

The day began with an overcast dreariness that kept me in bed an extra hour. My conscious and subconscious minds intertwine as I replay the final moments of last night’s dream. I watch myself fearlessly walk through a dark space that I now recognize to be a haunted house. Suddenly reality kicks in and all traces of fear come rushing back. It becomes clear my subconscious is the brave one here.

A jolt of energy catapults me from bed and into a frenzy as I realize the time. There are two things in this life that’ll entice me to become an early riser and that’s fresh Bruegger’s Bagels and LA street sweeping. I beeline it for my car, pj’s and all. They say the early bird gets the worm yet somehow I still had something to chew on despite my tardiness. I’m thrilled to announce it wasn’t a worm but filled with remorse that it wasn’t a bagel.

          Through the process of elimination you may have concluded that a street sweeping ticket was the culprit. Refusing to let the worthless piece of paper symbolize my weekend, I opt for my favorite tactic – out of sight, out of mind. I tuck it away, hoping it’ll fade like my weird dream. The air was brisk and slightly damp like the transition between summer and fall transpired over night. Today I would experience a shift of my own in deciding to re-write my day with an order of sunny-side-up eggs, brioche and a side of Mitchell Winkie.watch, retro, pattern, style, graphic, studio, design

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            I walk down Melrose, texting Mitchell to let him know I’m almost there. I look up from my phone to notice a guy wearing a shirt that reads, “Be Iconic.” The simple yet impactful phrase cheers me up and it’s as if my bright attitude cues the sun to pop through the clouds. A brisk breeze nudges me along and blows whispers of change.

            I turn the corner to notice a couple enjoying an order of toast that towers high enough to be mistaken for a game of Jenga. I enter the building and look for the loudest shirt in the joint to pinpoint my company. I find Mitchell at the back of the line scouring the menu. With so many choices on the menu I was instantly overwhelmed. Breakfast or lunch? Sweet or Savory? Luckily Mitchell made it a simple decision, “I’m getting both,” he says. With those three words I had the validation I needed to know he and I would be good friends. I follow suit and place my order as I grab Sqirls’ business card.

            Somewhere between the register and the water pitcher I unknowingly drop the business card. I shrug it off and keep walking figuring someone who truly cares might pick it up. A woman lightly taps me on the shoulder and says with a smile says, “You dropped this.” Slightly dumbfounded, I thank her and safely secure it in my purse. Soon enough, I’m sitting outside in the LA sun with Mitchell and conversation’s flowing. In fact we have so much to talk about we often get sidetracked and reroute to yet another avenue of discussion. Luckily I dig detours, they keep things fresh and adventurous. Between bites Mitchell asks me quirky questions like, “what’s your favorite cheese,” and “would you want to raise yourself?”

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We sit across from each other in our favorite Sunday’s Best finds; he in his tri-toned-short-sleeved-button-up and me in my iconic silk scarf bow. I couldn’t help but think how this all transpired. My first thought revolves around the aspect of recycled goods and how it led us to connect electronically. I decide to go deeper to the root of it all to find the truth of the matter. Here I find it was actually us that made it happen; it was our desire to connect as well as our commonalities that brought us face to face, celebrating our boldness over an all carb diet. I realized many will commit to connecting online, however few will make the effort to step into reality and act upon that desire to connect. It is in that extra step, the follow through, where everything comes full circle.

We sit and devise our future world dominations and laugh for hours before splitting. As we walk to our cars (both conveniently parked on Melrose) we impulsively stop to look at a sale rack outside a thrift shop. With no luck we assume we are without treasure until we realize the real gem lay not on the rack but on the ground. Mitchell reaches down for a piece of paper and I curiously ask him what it says. He unfolds it and reveals the poem, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. I ask if I can keep it only to feel slightly embarrassed afterwards. “Hey one man’s trash is another chick’s treasure,” I playfully smirk. He eases my discomfort by telling me he once found someone’s trashed diary and read the whole thing in one sitting. That was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment.

With shades layered over his glasses, he jokes, “Yup, nothing like rolling up to valet in your ’08 Corolla with manual windows.” I can’t help but giggle, not knowing if I was amused by the joke or his ability to pull off sunglasses over glasses. The most groovy thing about Mitchell besides his ability to make you laugh was his ability to make light of any situation.hair, beauty, fashion, studio, surrealism, art, style,

We part ways and I arrive back at my car. Here I take time to reflect on my ironic day. First my car inconveniences street cleaning, and now here I am, cleaning up the streets of LA. I get into my car and close the door behind me and pull out the business card and poem. I turn them over in my hand, trying to connect the dots. Then I realize I was doing exactly what Mitchell had done when he first found my mysterious card in his shirt pocket. It was as if I was now walking a mile in his shoes, only this time it involved an 8th graders literature homework.

With two tangible items in hand I could easily discard them as trash, but I saw something greater in them. I saw treasure that another left behind for me to find and attach my own meaning. I could see it as a “coincidence,” or I could see it as serendipity and formulate my own personal story. Knowing me, you know which road I took.

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            The Road Not Taken is a prime example of Frost’s misinterpreted nature, which I can relate to. Much of the poem contradicts itself, opening the door for confusion and exploration. This confusion is most evident in the fact that the title is often mistaken for The Road Less Traveled. Maybe we have never entertained the possibility that Frost intentionally sought to confuse his audience. Let’s explore that notion.

Poetry is defined as the art of rhythmical composition, which excites pleasure through beautiful thoughts. Art itself is defined as the aesthetic quality of that which is beautiful or appealing. So if poetry is a form of art and art is beauty, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then is it not all subjective to the viewer?

      I believe the purpose of poetry is to melodically ignite the viewer’s imagination so that we can extract our own interpretation of the story. So maybe the fact Frost never entirely reveals the true implications behind his piece is exactly what made it so compelling and therefore famous. For I believe at the very core of all great art is this purpose to inspire a new train of thought, an ability to spark questions and an outlet to freedom through open interpretation.

Someone recently asked me if I believed in fate. The more I thought about the question the more confused I became. This got me thinking, do we create our own fate with our choices or do we choose to call it fate as a means to take comfort in our choices? Maybe what Frost was hinting at was the two roads to destiny; the one where you create your own (better known as free will) and the road of pre-determined destiny (also known as fate). Do we create meaning from meaningless pieces of paper by injecting them with imaginative stories? Or have we just lost the ability to see life creatively? If Frost is right and both paths lead to the same destination, would you change your course or keep trotting?

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            Maybe Robert Frost understood the importance of the individual and the intrigue of mystery. Maybe he found that healthy balance between supplying his audience with enough to guide them while understanding the freedom in negative space, which allows one to fill in their own blanks. As we all experience life from different perspectives, one’s path will never be the same as another’s. Equally so, one interpretation of a story won’t be the same as another’s. One thing is certain, life may present the game, but it is us who choose how to play it. As for Mitchell and I, I’d say we played our hands well.

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 || PHOTOGRAPHY ||

Sara Clarken 

|| CREATIVE DIRECTION ||

Puno

|| STYLING | MUSE ||

Morgan Ryan

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I N D E P E N D E N C E DAY || 07.04.15 ||

“The world you inhabit is a reflection of your internal state. If you want to see external change, work from the inside out.”

-Dali Lama

IMG_7018 (1)            During my senior year of college I took a course on Happiness. I recently decided to re-visit one of the books from the class and in doing so retrieved some valuable information. These excerpts impacted me more today than ever before as I could now apply them to a real life scenario. As I delve into the idea of happiness in relation to personal freedom, it is only right that I bring some philosophical homies along for the ride.

            Confucius was one of the first philosophers to create the notion that we in fact hold the power to self-transformation. This idea of self-manifested change is quite empowering as it can be applied to any area of life. In knowing that we have the ability to change our life from an attitude, it is then not hard to believe that we can bring to life whatever we feel within.

            Aristotle said that happiness is a state of mind arising from purpose. When a sense of inner direction guides our actions and choices, we remain afloat. However, once we lead from an outside desire, and seek pleasure without purpose, we sink. When we confuse “things” with happiness, we find ourselves in a pit of emptiness. Year after year I chased after pleasure and I came to find it only seemed to run farther away from me.

            If I knew what I know now, I would have realized pleasure has the tendency of a firework; a quick burst of electrifying energy that comes as quickly as it goes (talk about impermanence). On the contrary, true happiness as a state of soul is everlasting. As I drive through Hollywood tonight, I first handily experience the role the mind plays in the quest for happiness as I admire the temporary pleasure of fireworks with a detached attitude.

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|| MAV MANTRA ||

Today I am the architect of my own sense of fulfillment

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Four years ago I was far from who I am today. I looked for fulfillment from just about anything material, which I now recognize as pleasure (thanks Aristotle). I was looking for something to fill the emptiness I so desperately longed to alleviate. As a result I blindly created an even larger hole with this vicious cycle. It was around the same time I met you and during this chapter of my life, I thought you were the answer to all my worries. I was so wrong and I am happy to admit it.

I waited to be set free like a genie in a bottle, or better yet a firework, confined to the limits of my own body. It was as if I was trapped in solitary confinement and the only prison bars in sight were those I had built around my mind. I had become conditioned to pleasure and attached to the idea of someone saving me. Little did I know, I would only receive more time behind bars for these actions.

I became lost in your world, a world that in all honesty didn’t co-exist with my own. I was searching for the hands of another and found myself waiting hopelessly on fireworks that would never make it farther than the ground. I was headed down a slippery road with no outlet in sight. As I reminisce I feel a jolt of restrictive energy rush through my veins as my current view is much more expansive and promising.
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I drive down Santa Monica Blvd, occasionally glancing up at the explosive beauty that lights up the cityscape. It is July 4th 2015. The evening has yet to begin and I already feel a sense of fulfillment as fireworks light up my eyes. For the first time in four years I feel free from the outside world’s influence. A thought of you surfaces only to fade away in sync with a firework as it lights up, sizzles out and disappears into the night sky.

    It wasn’t until I lost you that I could finally see I held the key to my desired freedom all along. They say you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. In a way I think they’re wrong, for maybe in losing, we can finally realize that which is truly important can never be lost. For me, I needed to set you free in order to see this clearly for myself. In shifting my attitude I broke free and the fireworks that I wished for finally took flight. Now I truly understand what it means to be free. The holiday begins to take on a new significance and I realize we continue to hold onto something for as long as the mind remains attached.

           A burden lifts and my spirits soar as I arrive in West Hollywood to meet up with my friends. We stroll the streets, heading from Pump to The Abbey. As we hop around we pass a bar that’s playing “Genie In A Bottle.” I smirk at the irony. We head to Revolver as our last spot before calling it a night. I follow Austin down a set of stairs to the bathrooms and find myself in the men’s room. I giggle and shrug it off by doing what I know best in awkward situations as such, I dance. Whitney Houston belts out “I get so emotional baby,” as new arrivals greet us with initial looks of shock that quickly shift to smiles as they enter our dance floor and join in on the fun. If singing and dancing to Material Girl in the men’s bathroom on July 4th doesn’t scream independence, I don’t know what does.

          I arrive home in the early morning, park my car and take a moment to listen. I hear the birds sing and my heart beat. I draw in a deep breath. In this moment I’m happy and I wonder what could account for this current state of mind. I have reason to believe it has to do with appreciating all the good of the past with a sense of detachment, as well as a thoughtfulness in saying, “that was good, but I’m here now.” As I look back, I can now honor the beauty found in letting go. Strut, Fashion Model, Bates Motel, Los Angeles,

         A few days later I received an email with these words: “In the long run those who don’t eventually go “within,” often go “without”? You’ve got the power.”Talk about impeccable timing! I allow this to reaffirm my decision to conclude one chapter of my life as I crack open the next. I am satisfied that I finally understand the power I hold in creating the life I know I deserve. Lesson learned, happy are those who fight to find their freedom and refuse to ever let it go.

(Shout out to Allen for turning me onto The Internet’s new album, Ego Death)

|| CREATIVE DIRECTOR | MODEL ||

Morgan Ryan

|| PHOTOGRAPHY ||

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|| MAKEUP ||

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Jersey | A Common Space

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Shoes | Nike Force

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|| MUSES ||

Aristotle

Confucius 

Dali Lama

Happiness by Chittister (pg. 45, 172)