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THE POWER OF I AM

“I am is one of the most powerful statements we can make. Whatever follows “I am” starts the creation of it.”

– KRISTEN B U T L E R

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Have you stopped lately to listen to what you’re saying about yourself? The words you choose, the actions you take that reinforce these thoughts? I started my year off recognizing this truth by tapping into the word I AM. By doing so, I realized how easily life began to flow to me and for me. Most of all, I loved that I was practicing my knowledge and belief that I was a co-creator with source.

I find it truly empowering that we all have free will or the power of choice. We can choose the direction of our lives, whether that’s positive or negative, rich and abundant or limited by lack. In becoming aware of this, we can change the direction of our life’s course with a simple shift in our words, thoughts and actions.

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I know we can all be hard on ourselves and self-critical at times. I think that’s natural and needed. The real test is not being perfect but more so how we choose to use these hardships. Are we going to kindle the fire and continue harping on what we don’t like or are we going use the pain to promote change? Continuation of anything becomes habit, so the quicker you can shift into a place of progress the better off you’ll be.

AWARENESS is the first step to adjusting and creating a healthier life. The thing I realized was my negative self talk or energy was not only permating me as a person but something larger than myself. It was closing me off from positive growth, people and situations that wanted to help me! And as someone passionately focused on growth and improvement, this was a major RED FLAG.

This brings me to the next step DESIRE. You have to actually reach a point where you can no longer accept the way things are. You know kinda like that phrase, ‘it’s always darkest before the dawn,’ or ‘things will get worse before they can get better.’ Sounds really dark but now I get it. You have to want to change and therefore sometimes it takes some dark moments to search for the light.

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Through desire comes deliberate ACTION. I wanted to feel better, I wanted to speak more kindness and most of all, I wanted to help others. But by falling back into some mental bad habits (which I’m truly grateful for), I realized I could only help others by reframing and working on my own ish-ues. So I took inventory of what was working for me back in the beginning of the year and I did the work.

I love this quote from Kristen Butler from the Power of Positivity; “Our thoughts and words have crafted our present and are currently crafting our future.” This really puts into perspective how we throw words around but if we saw the immediate manifestion of them we might take time to be a a little more selective, ammmmiright? Like imagine if you’re like “I AM FAT,” and in a blink of an eye you gained 200 lbs. I think you would watch yo mouth a lil more, and also, you would appreciate where you’re at more too.

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A poisitive reflection I had in my “darkness” was if I had success in the beginning of the year, I can have it again. This self soothing talk really helped me feel optimistic and then helped me stay on track. So I started writing in my I AM Journal again. I carved out a non-negotiable, consistent practice or a morning ritual. This included morning coffee, journaling and reading. I would write out my gratitude, intentions and I AM statements in my I AM Journal. Then I would read whatever I felt compelled to for my daily inspiration.

I want to reiterate, CONSISTENCY is key.  You have to keep at it to build momentum behind this practice and energy. The best part is once you do so long enough, it becomes a habit (and a postive one might I add). You’ll eventaully get to a point where you won’t wanna have your morning coffee without it. If a daily practice is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

So where are you at today in this journey? I encourage you to take a mental and emotional inventory by sitting quietly and silencing the chatter. Whatever is bothering you, find the contrasting feeling and say or write I AM before it. Know that you’re worthy of it and feel that. As always, feel free to share yours in the comments below!

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I AM STEPPING INTO MY POWER,

M

 

| BRAND |

T H E  G I V I N G  K E Y S

 

| PHOTO |

S T E V E  E R L E 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FLAG F I N I S H

“The way to measure your progress is backward against where you started, not against your ideal.”

– DAN S U L L I V AN

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I’m a notorious idealist. I tend to set my eyes on lofty goals and choose to see life through an idealistic lens. It wasn’t until recently that I realized this might actually be setting me back versus helping me attain those goals. So let’s break down progress and success on the two therories of ideals vs goals.

An ideal is one’s concept of perfection. It strictly exsists in one’s imagination and is unlikely to become reality. A goal is a product of one’s effort or ambition. An aim that is specific and measureable.

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Here are some facts about ideals:

  1. They’re general and immeasurable
  2. They are constantly changing as you grow and change
  3. The measurement of yourself of where you currently are against your ideals creates unhappiness
  4. If you don’t have a way to measure your progress it’ll be hard to stick with it
  5. They’re distant and abstract

Here are some facts on happiness in relation to success:

  1. When you fail to appreciate where you are right now, you miss out on the benefits of mindfulness, and the journey to the desired “destination.”
  2. If you don’t take time to reflect on your progress, you miss all the small wins along the way therefore have less gratitude, confidence and joy. Without happiness, gratitude and confidence, you won’t want to imagine or create more goals.
  3. If you can’t measure your success, you can’t verify progress, which creates negative emotions versus confidence (a proven by product of success)
  4. The anticipation of success is almost always more powerful than the event itself
  5. Happiness is the secret to success

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Therefore, it’s safe to say our ideals should not be our benchmark for growth and achievement. Rather, ideals should be a source to create specific and challenging long-term goals. When you take the time to reflect and measure your progress, you’ll enable yourself to set powerful goals with clarity as these goals will be created from a place of confidence, happiness, and gratitude. Most importantly, they will be tangible. 

How do we do this? We transistion from ‘The Gap’ to ‘The Gain’ as Dan Sullivan calls it. This means focusing less on the ideals and more on the progess in relation to your starting point! The Gap, or ideal, can feel daunting and as if you’ve made zero progress due to their distant nature. Psychologically, you can also begin to dig yourself into a ditch as you tend to see all the time/energy you’ve used as a waste as you’re still not where you “need” to be.

Rather with ‘The Gain’ mindset, you measure your growth against your starting point. You’ll naturally begin to feel a sense of progress and forward movement as a result. This in return produces an emotion of satisfaction and happiness and ultimately motivates you to continue on your path to growth and achievement.

So let’s just sayfor a second that I would like to make a lofty goal for myself for the year of 2018: That is I want to attain a Sports Illustrated body! Now this isn’t very measurable nor is it specific for that matter. However if I set goals and live in the ‘The Gain’ mentality, I can then go in each month and set smaller, tangible goals such as attending Buti Yoga twice a week. This is a tangible goal I can measure at the month’s end. I can also compare myself from my staring point to map out my phyiscal progress.

I think this is a very important discussion to have in this day an age with all the media we choose to absorb online and out in the world. We all want to be our own boss, have a successful business and home life and of course make loads of money. On the downside we all at one time or another have fallen victim to unrealistic comparison, whether it’s photoshopped bodies we see all over Instagram or the perfection of someone’s feed. I think when it comes down to it, we all just want to be the best versions of ourselves and to that notion, I commend the.

I’m not saying ideals are completely terrible. There is defintiely a time and place for going general and daydreaming (primarily when you lack clarity or you’re building a long-term vision). More so what I’m saying is in order to stay on track, make sure you’re also taking the time to build the specific and attainable goals (with clarity). Know when to use them but also learn to keep up and adjust each accordingly as you change and grow.

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More-gain,

M

 

Photography: Nat Sin of Style Cruise

 

 

 

| HAWAIIAN H E R I T A G E |

“From a small seed a mighty trunk may grow.” 

– A E S C H Y L U S

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Ever since I could remember, I’ve been visualizing. As a young girl in elementary school, I used to be the last person to finish reading. I blame my creative mind, which would wander to exciting places mid-sentence (side note: still happens). The only spot I truly loved was the art room – probably because it was the only place I felt I belonged. The time I spent daydreaming and visualizing was welcomed here.

With anything in life, I realize it’s not all daydreams (although I wish it was). It’s vision combined with hard work that brings what you want into being. Strangely enough, with any accomplishment I’ve made, it’s through a balance of activity and inactivity. Many times what appears to be inactivity, is in fact is very active after all. Taoist refer to this as Wu Wei, and in this case, I call it active visualization. Let me explain…

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Whenever I feel stuck, I pause, reflect and visualize. I’ve always been an advocate for vision boards. Not strictly for its artistic nature, but because it focuses energy and attention on the passion at hand. Love, fitness, career, whatever it may be, it helps the mind ‘go there,’ thus stimulating that dreamer we all have within.

In the midst of all the moving pieces of my career right now, which I’m extremely grateful for, I’ve had little time for inactivity. Feeling more pressure than before, I began to think, what’s next? As a result, I’ve negatively begun to doubt my creativity and the future. As dreamers, we should welcome if not anticipate the thought of what could be. In truth, I was running from the very person I am. When I slowed down to realize this, I knew I needed to take time some time out. I did just that in a rather unconventional way; when things picked up, I slowed down.

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There’s a method to my madness. When you’re speeding ahead, you fail to catch the glimpse of the pretty house along the street you’ve never explored. You overlook the excerpt in a book that will inspire your next project. In slowing down, you find everything you need. You’re re-inspired. Thus I found a way to combine my work with my passions.

As I prepped for my Mane Addicts Instastory Takeover (<- click for a highlight), I applied my new found knowledge to social media. The weeks leading up the gig, I used my account to play and test new ideas. Not only was this personally fulfilling, it also left me reassured I could do my best when it came time to take over their account. In fact this methodology helped me successfully accomplish my immediate goal (hitting over 9,000 impressions) while I created a road map for future ones. One of those destined ventures being Hawaii. The idea: reconnecting to the source.

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When I initially dug up information on the Awapuhi Farm and Nature Retreat, my ears were ringing, “ready, set, location, shoot!” For years now, I’ve had the reoccurring vision of being on a remote island, sourcing ingredients and creating botanical/herbal products. One thing many people don’t know about me is that I turn to natural remedies and concoct my own beauty products.

Ayurveda or life science, has always been a secret passion of mine. It became more prevalent in my life when I was diagnosed with ADHD. After years of taking medication, I desired a more long term and natural solution. Thus, I begun to self-educate myself on nutrition and natural means of healing. When I realized this ‘ailment’ made me special not slow, I began to use it creatively to my benefit. That’s when the holistic healer kicked in and I hope one day to help others heal and reach total wellness too.

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When I learned Awapuhi Wild Ginger was born and sourced in Pa’auilo, Hawaii, I saw the initial blending of my two worlds; the muse meets the the healer. I saw myself there, exploring the nature, science and culture of this area. I saw me hosting, traveling, educating, and most of all, learning through personal experiences. Clearly, the passion alarm went off.

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of taking the first step in that direction. In attending the Paul Mitchell Innovation Center in Santa Clarita, I learned all about the Awapuhi line. It was invigorating to be educated on a product I use often and is rooted in Hawaiian culture. The herbalist in me enjoyed hearing about the ingredients and putting a face to the scientists in the lab. To see the work that goes into perfecting and delivering a product into the hands of the consumer was something special to experience.

Later that afternoon I left feeling all the hope in the world. In fact, I used the positive energy of the day as an opportunity to make my own slice of HI in CA. I made my way to Malibu and created an experience that one could equate to the Aloha State. The strange thing was, that weekend I truly believed a huge leap was made in the direction of that island. I felt one step closer towards actualizing that goal.

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I’ve always had this island dream and I always will. Who knows, maybe the dream is better than reality. What I do know is I will eventually realize this dream and find out one way or another for myself.

Aloha,

M

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GET RICH OR DYE TRYIN’

“Sacred success means pursuing your soul’s purpose for your own bliss and the benefit of others, while being richly rewarded.”

B A R B A R A STANNY

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With Spring Equinox and Aries season upon us, the time to refresh and re-create is here. That being said, what better time than the first day of spring, to implement something new and beneficial in our lives! Here are 5 simple ways to create abundance in your life. Let’s step into spring with a re-purposed purpose, living lives we love:

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1. Get Quiet or Take A Retreat

I recently decided to write to my friends on Facebook how I was feeling in a moment of presence. It read something like “we all out here making a name for ourselves, grinding. I get it. Idk ’bout you, but sometimes I don’t make time for others, or I shut them out. As of lately I feel like I’m more sensitive to this and the real importance of setting aside time for others.” I was amazed by the long lost friends who responded wanting to get together and reconnect, as well as the kindred spirits who mentioned they’ve been feeling the same.

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2. Hang with Kindred Spirits

Something so essential but easily disregarded was overlooked in my foggy mind. Human connection. I can honestly say this month I realized the importance of setting aside adequate time to retreat, quiet the mind and surround myself with loved ones. This allows one to listen to what the body’s trying to tell you while bringing divine inspiration to conversation. If I didn’t slow down, I would’ve overlooked many things that have recently led to my favorite ah-ha moments. 

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3. Harness Your Female Energy

After a back injury that left me pretty much immobile, I was forced to pause and reflect on why I stood here, motionless. My untamable masculine energy kept telling my mind you’re strong, keep going. I pushed, over-extended and injured myself because I was too busy ‘doing ‘and not allowing the wise feminine energy to move through me. True feminine power is when you know who you are, what you want and unapologetically express that to the world!

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4. What’s Your Purpose?

I found a few months ago I was placing my focus in all the wrong places. I loved what I was doing but my purpose behind which had deterred to profit. I got lost in the numbers game that is social media. The very goal I set out with was to be great while helping others achieve greatness. For my birthday this month, I got away to the Sequoia’s. By getting back to nature and pausing, I was reminded of the original me, helping me to move away from profit to purpose. 

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5. Embrace Your Fears

I recently began talking on the phone with a high school friend. I sat and listened to him recall all his recent struggles and the traveling he did in attempt to find his purpose. One thing he mentioned was knowing all along who he was and what he was meant to be. He realized he became afraid of his own greatness. This hit home for me as well, as I’ve been self-destructive at times. Hearing him said that healed me as I’m sure it helped heal him. 

Key to Success for spring: Explore your fears. Successful, confident or working towards it, we all struggle with self-doubt and fear. The only difference here in becoming successful is allowing oneself to feel the fear and run towards it anyway. So be a warrior. Don’t be afraid of your greatness. Harness it!

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So I leave you with this…what’s keeping you from being great?

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All photos taken by Morgan Ryan.

Shot around East Los Angeles and The Getty.

For a more in depth look at cultivating abundance this Spring, click here to listen to the full Podcast via Astrostyle.

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I AM ________.

I AM….whatever I say I am. 2017 is the year of self-definition…or perhaps un-definition. I realized that as much as words supply meaning they also confine. In the purest form, we must create ourselves, our own opinions and then voice them. Sometimes that’s a matter of standing tall in our truth, letting it be known who we are without uttering a word. However, when we do decide to speak, let us speak kindness and love. Let us be impeccable in all we do. Most of all, let us be impeccable with our word.

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I AM ______.

          strong

      courageous

        tenacious

  ever-evolving

              loving.

goofball, dance, freak flag,

Fill in the blank, or don’t. That’s your choice. Sometimes words can’t even begin to describe the totality of our thoughts, feelings or perhaps our existence. If you had to choose a few words to describe yourself today, what would they be? Would they be kind and self-benefiting?

The fun thing about emotional strength is it’s ability to translate to all areas of our life. For example, our hair. In many cultures, hair is symbolic of one’s vitality and ‘spiritual strength.’ What if we looked at hair through this lens? Would the way we brush it or even style it change? Perhaps hair can be greater than a source of creative expression. Perhaps it can indicate how you show up in the world beyond appearances.

When our hair is strong and healthy, it reflects the strength we know we have inside. The Paul Mitchell’s Super Strong® line rebuilds hair from within, improving texture while keeping strands shiny and soft. Beyond that, it shield hair from damaging UV rays and is completely vegan, color-safe and paraben-free!

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Strong Look of the Month: 

SPACE BUNS + WINKS

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PREP:

Begin with clean, dry, straight hair. Cleanse with Super Strong® Daily Shampoo and condition with Super Strong® Daily Conditioner (shop links below).

Create a middle part and divide hair into two separate high pony tails. Tie with soft elastic bands.

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Step 3: Twist each section into its own separate bun and secure with bobby pins.

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secure, bobby pins,

Step 4: Get out there and rock and shine (you _______ babe you!)

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| SHOP THIS LOOK |

Super Strong® Duo Set | Ouchless Elastic Hair Ties | Assorted Bobby Pins

| FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHY |

Mark Sacro Morgan Ryan (BTS)

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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, Swim, Active, American Apparel, Los Angeles, Fashion, Art, Artisan, Soul, Iconic

TAKE THE P L U N G E

“True creativity does not come easily; creativity is born of risk and refined from failure.”

-Erwin McManus,

The Artisan Soul

Beauty, Swim, Active, American Apparel, Los Angeles, Fashion, Art, Artisan, Soul, Iconic

Let us not be confused, creativity is not a gift given to the rare few. Rather, it is a rare few who take the risk to be creative. It’s as if we’ve been playing a game of telephone and during our correspondence our words became misinterpreted. You see, we are all born creators. So why do so many of us hesitate to be creative or even call ourselves creative? It’s simple, we found fear and replaced potential with limitation. We stopped dreaming. We found it was easier to lower the bar so we can sit comfortably rather than push ourselves to our limits. But what if I told you in order to create something beautiful you have to embrace risk and failure. I can tell you the only thing I fear is fear itself for it is the antithesis of a life well lived, a life of creativity.

| MAV MANTRA |

Today I will make my life a living art. I do not fear failure rather I welcome it’s invitation;

for I see my potential in arms reach. swim, pattern, water, los angeles, art, textureFear often interjects because we are unsure whether or not we are enough. We fear creativity because it calls us to be more and to reach for our potential. I’ll be honest I really dislike failure, but as an artist who enjoys the learning process I accept the fact that I won’t be the best at everything, yet. However I write this to you as I haven’t been pushing myself as much as I know I could in some areas of my life simply because I’m afraid of the responsibility and the idea of failure. However, I love creating enough to risk the experience of failure. I have come to find that failure is inevitable and with it’s help I can refine my craft. For when I see improvement, I experience an aliveness like no other. You know, with practice you really can achieve great things. In knowing this I will continue to risk it all in order to become the best creative I can be.

If you doubt whether or not you are an artist I leave you with one question, “Do you have a soul?” Art and creativity can be expressed in so many forms. Try not to take it too literally, get creative! If you write you’re creating, if you dance or cook you are equally creating. Heck you can even speak beauty and be creating. So where in your life are you merely existing but ready to live more fully? Where are you being commanded to create beauty in this world? Whatever that may be, do that. Heed the call and take the plunge. I promise you one thing, you will surprise yourself more than you know 🙂 Like the clerk said to Jerry McGuire, “That’s how you become great, man. Hang your balls out there!”

water, art, creativity, authentic, sparkle, pool, summer, swim,

| THIS IS A MAVERICK CREATIVE GUIDE |

The Creative Process 

1. Dream |

Imagination is the space where we can dare to dream. Cultivate a space and time to imagine each day.

2. Risk |

Push yourself! Go out on a limb, don’t worry about the end results.

3. Create |

Let go of your fears and make something intrinsically beautiful to share with the world.

los angeles, float, american apparel, swim, sparkle, summer,

PHOTOGRAPHER | CONCEPT

Evan Woods

MODEL | STYLIST

Morgan Ryan

FIT

American Apparel, Repurposed Party Streamers 

| THE MUSES |

The Artisan Soul

Madonna

Jerry McGuire

Beauty, Bow, Vintage, Denim, America, Nostalgia,

|| THE B A T T L E WOUND ||

“Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.”

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The Greeks refer to nostalgia as the pain from an old wound. This makes complete sense as I catch myself reminiscing over old photos. Instead of my usual happiness, I emotionally ache. To me, photography and nostalgia seem to go hand and hand. Like nostalgia’s accomplice, photography has the ability to trigger powerful emotions by capturing the fleeting moments in which we long to return. This could certainly feel heightened when we attach memory and emotion and therefore realize these moments can never quite be experienced again in the same fashion. Photography holds the beautiful quality of stopping time by breaking it down into tangible fragments that allow us to travel back in space and time. However, like all things in life with the light must come the dark. If we become too attached to these moments, photos enable us to live in the past instead of the present and can cripple us. This is when unhealed wounds re-open allowing the pain to rush back in.

This month has been an emotional roller coaster for many including myself. With the New Moon in Cancer, this is a time for cleansing and healing. With Cancer’s sensitive watery element, there is a direct focus on emotions and relationships. Whether or not you’d like to face your problems, I guarantee you haven’t had much of a choice as you’ve probably sensed the heightened emotions and relationship tensions too. I’ll admit that I both physically and emotionally ache as I write this. I’ve felt completely disowned and under appreciated. My upper back aches and let’s just say I’ve cried enough tears to put an end to the drought in Los Angeles. However, whoever said “there is beauty in the breakdown” is right. I’m learning there’s a necessity for release because without it, we’re like ticking time bombs. For unresolved issues continue to manifest in our relationships and health until we face them head on.

As some of our best life teachers, relationships provide the landscape for our personal growth. It’s simple to pinpoint a pattern, just notice what keeps appearing. The hard part is digging deep within to find its origins. This requires you to go to a sensitive place from your past and relive it and let’s be honest, most of us would rather keep bad experiences in the dark. However, those unhealed wounds are burdensome and if left untended will reappear until the lesson is learned.

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Before we get too wrapped up in the negative, let’s take a second to realize not all is lost, and we can deactivate that bomb if we know the code. This is merely an opportunity to be our own hero. With discipline and a willingness to face the emotional debris like a soldier of love, we can finally acknowledge the hurt and nurse ourselves back to health. With genuine compassion and self-love, we can begin to heal what we continue to hold onto from the past by reconstructing our destructive ways. My back might be in pain but not to worry I still got yours! Here’s a little guide to help get you started.

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|| THIS IS A MAVERICK LIFE LESSON ||

Healing Wounds  

1.) AWARENESS |

Instead of becoming reactive and swept away by emotion, become aware. Notice patterns and what is continually showing up. What are your triggers? By simply noticing you keep a distance from the pain. The more present you become, the quicker you heal. If anything, master this because awareness informs the next two steps as we prepare to move into the role of the observer who feels the experience with zero judgement.

2.) STORY TIME |

Remain neutral. Don’t entertain the mind with its stories. The mind merely tries to solve and make sense of experience and will bend the truth to do so. By moving from the mind, we play the victim role and keep attracting similar experiences and wounds. Instead if we move from the heart we can finally heal them. When you focus on the body and how it feels, the mind loses it’s “power.”

3.) FEELINGS |

Time to open up and allow yourself to feel the emotions. True healing occurs when we let go of all the built up emotions and allow compassion to flow. If you feel like crying, cry. If you feel like smiling, then smile (just make sure you do it from ear to ear). Feel whatever you must feel and show yourself unconditional love in the process. Be your own hero and you may just find you’ll be someone else’s too. The awareness mentioned prior is so necessary because now we can notice what our bodies are trying to tell us we need during these growing pains (in my case, I needed a soothing epsom salt bath).

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 Here we are, at the turning point of the battle. Now is the time to finally release the old emotional baggage so that we can grow into the new. No one said it would be easy and you may gather a few scars along the way, but the results are rewarding. I would rather have a scar than a wound for a scar is a reminder of my strength over what tried to take me down. I found a new life awaiting beyond the confined limits of a 4 x 6 photo. I released the nostalgia of my past and entered an even better reality, the present. Trust me when I say, in this place good things await. Things like greater personal power, freedom, self-love and confidence. Take the leap of faith and step into your new life in a powerful way. I assure you will be shown a greater strength.

| MAV MANTRA |

I can contribute good to someone else’s life today by being full of love

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|| PHOTOGRAPHY ||

Evan Woods

|| CREATIVE DIRECTION & STYLING ||

 Morgan Ryan

|| OUTFIT ||

Vintage Jean Jacket, Vintage Silk Scarf from Sunday’s Best Thrift, Hanes White Tank, Free People Jeans, ALDO combat boots

Hair Flip, Beauty, Fashion, Style Icon,

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.

Style, Trend, Beauty, Los Angeles, Fashion Blogger, Pinstripe, Urban, Chic, Cool

|| MAV MANTRA ||

Today I am the architect of my own sense of fulfillment

Sunglasses, Dope, Swag, Curls, Hair, Beauty,Hair Flip, Beauty, Fashion, Style Icon,

Beauty, Photography, Los Angeles, Fashion Icon,

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.
Shades, Dope, Swag, Beauty, Bates Motel, Bates Motel, Beauty, Vintage, Retro, Babe

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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 ||

Evan Woods

|| MAKEUP ||

Emily Gruen

|| SHOP THE LOOK ||

Jersey | A Common Space

Socks | Nike

Shoes | Nike Force

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|| MUSES ||

Aristotle

Confucius 

Dali Lama

Happiness by Chittister (pg. 45, 172)

|| BREAKING F A C A D E S || 6.7.15 ||

I’d rather be honest and authentic and disappoint some people than to exhaust myself trying to keep up the façade of perfection.

Crystal Paine

Los Angeles, Wanderlust, Deep Thoughts

| MAV MANTRA |

I have a right to speak my truth

Hot Rodd

This week, all the signs pointed to this notion of authenticity. This reminder to always remain true to who you are is not a value new to me; rather it resides at the top of my list. However, having it tested simultaneously in both my personal and business relationships is a whole new ride for me. In just a short week, I experienced the necessity of using my authenticity in relation to my voice on several occasions.

It seems so simple, yet some of us tend to refrain from speaking our truth when we have the most to say. This doesn’t have to be limited to just the literal sense of stating what you will or won’t allow. It can also be in the creative sense, such as dressing a certain way and therefor not allowing an outside force to impede on your choices. Either way, the point is that you don’t remain silent when you have something important to say.

For me, fashion does most of the talking. I tend to prefer silent observations matched with in-depth reflections. What can I say, I’m an artist. I express myself on my canvas. That is unless I’m put on the spot. In that case I gotta deliver some spit fire whit.

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This week provided some great eye opening experiences. If these interactions showed me one important lesson it would be that it’s okay to say no. In fact sometimes you must say no in order to create healthy boundaries in your life. I stepped into my authentic power. One where I could respectfully exert my voice in the right situations.

 Amidst these opportunities of vocalization, I also found waves of silence. In these moments, I would observe situations like a fly on the wall and gather lessons from this outside perspective. You see life is just a test to find and maintain the balance of opposites. There will be moments where you must step up to the plate and deliver, and times where you will need to fall back, blend in, and observe.

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Can you relate? Have you recently had the opportunity to authentically express yourself for the benefit of yourself or another? Or maybe you are learning how to speak up more and that’s why you were led here. Whatever the case may be, I want to help you live an authentic life too. If you seek some helpful tips for breaking down the barriers you face with personal expression and communication, here are a few for starters.

Since our voice is associated with the throat chakra, there are a few ways to get more in touch with your authentic voice. First, you could try opening your throat chakra with guided meditations or mantras. Or maybe you like essential oils. If so, go for scents associated with the throat chakra such as chamomile, sandalwood or frankincense. If that’s a little out of your comfort level, then maybe just simply turn on some music and sing! The element is sound, so all methods are equally as effective. Turn it up and come sing with me: