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| CRYSTAL LAKE |

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I ascend in delight

where the heaviness looms,

and spirits they lift

atop a misty cliff

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An inverted fog

you engulf me in,

a view so unclear

as I watch you disappear

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In the golden valley below

the skies open up,

to taste your sweet tear

oh, the melody I’ll hear

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I followed where you led

upon water cast thy bread,

a vision crystal clear,

in the reflections of my fear

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Waited a long time

to have you by my side,

it was a hell of a ride

though we’ve reached the end of our tide

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There’s something so majestic

about a biblical sky,

to pierce velvet skin

and harden the bone within

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Where thoughts of you lead

 the layers reveal,

indigo hillsides

 so pure and wide

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In a technicolor dream

we ignite with desire

 where greenery’s on fire,

and you are my rectifier.

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GET THIS LOOK:

Jacket | Shirt | Pants | Creepers | Gloves | Lipstick

. . .

| CREATIVE DIRECTION |

Morgan Ryan & Evan Woods for SCHAI 

| FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER |

Evan Woods

| FEATURED MUSE + STYLING |

Morgan Ryan

| FEATURED MUA |

Emily Gruen using MAC Cosmetics

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

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

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

-JOAN W A L S H ANGLUND

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

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

(Cue the break through)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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| S U N N Y |

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

LEWIS B. SMEDES

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PRESS PLAY

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

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

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

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| SELF-CARE |

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

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

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| SELF-LOVE |

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

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

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

| Self-Love Practice |

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

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

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

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

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

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

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| MAV MANTRA |

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

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| FORGIVENESS |

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

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

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

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| FORGIVENESS PRACTICE |

1.) “I’m sorry.” 

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

2.) “Please forgive me.”

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

3.) I love you.”

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

4.) Thank you.”

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

_______

| WRITING A NEW STORY |

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

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IN COLLABORATION WITH THE M I G H T Y COMPANY 

| PHOTOGRAPHY |

Evan Woods

| CREATIVE DIRECTION |

Morgan Ryan

| MUSES |

Cameron Arnett & Morgan Ryan 

SHOW ME THE T O N I | Part II

NEW YEAR | NEW YOU

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

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| MAV MANTRA |

Empty what is full, fill what is empty.

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CLEAR SPACE | CLEAR MIND

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

HEAVY vs. LIGHT

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

OFF THE MIND | ONTO PAPER

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

BYE, PROCRASTINATION

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

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

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 RESULTS

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

LESSONS

-Be reasonable

-Focus on the task at hand

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

– Come back to it later

-Plan the night before

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

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

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

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

-Applaud yourself for what you did complete

– Have fun!

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

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

|| MUSE | STYLIST||

Morgan Ryan

|| PHOTOGRAPHY ||

Puno

|| FEATURING ||

TONI

SHOW ME THE T O N I

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

-ARISTOTLE

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TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING | IS TOO MUCH

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

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

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

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

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

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In Memory of Cory O’Connor

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THE M A V E R I C K MUSE feat. TONI

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| PHOTOGRAPHY |

Puno

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CONVERSATIONS WITH LOOKBOOK

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

LOOKBOOK 

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

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

LB : What are your passions?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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LB: Tell us about your average day.

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

LB: Your favorite color of the moment is:

MR: Marigold.

LB: Describe your personal style.

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

Umbrella, Studio, Photography, Runway, Fashion

LB: Where are your favorite places to shop?

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

LB: Who are your fashion icons?

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

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

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

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LB: A fashion rule you always break:

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

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

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

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

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

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

MR: A classic trench coat.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

LB: Filters or #nofilter? Why?

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

LB: What camera do you use?

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

LB: What can’t you live without?

MR: Confidence.  

LB: Next place you want to travel to:

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

LB: In 5 years, you will be:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Event Photography | Aaron Pryor

Event Location | Quixote Studios

Pattern, Studio, Design, Fashion, Photography, Style,

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

surreal, studio, beauty, vintage, surrealism, art, fashion,

Banana, Surreal, Studio, Socks, Funny, Pastels, __________

(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

_________

            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?”

Fashion, Surreal, Studio, Sleep, Beauty, Patten, Design,    Pattern, Studio, Design, Fashion, Photography, Style,

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.

observe, beauty, fashion, style, batmitten, fan, active, lifestyle,      batmitten, beauty, fashion, editorial, studio, vintage

________

Bat Mitten, Vintage, Monochrome, Fan, Fashion, Beauty, Suureal

            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?

silly, fun, quirky, beauty, fashion, studio, surrealism, art,

            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.

__________

 || PHOTOGRAPHY ||

Sara Clarken 

|| CREATIVE DIRECTION ||

Puno

|| STYLING | MUSE ||

Morgan Ryan

Leather, Fashion, Minimal, Style, Surreal, Beauty,

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

“Poker is a fascinating, wonderful, intricate adventure on the high seas of human nature.”

– David A. DanielLeather, Fashion, Minimal, Style, Surreal, Beauty, The notion of one man’s trash as another’s treasure is far from unusual to me. I mean, let’s be honest, you can’t share the same name with Captain Morgan and not have some of the same qualities. In a debate, he and I would probably not see eye to eye on our idea of ‘treasure.’ We would agree to disagree yet rest assured, we share some common ground. As unrelenting adventurous spirits, we both have a desire to seek and a love for spiced rum.

     After imagining myself conversing with the fictional character, I thought I might be insane. That is until an idea sparked and had me thinking; what is it I’m seeking? If it isn’t gold or the fountain of youth, is there a treasure we all agree on? Is there something we all equally desire? It was then I found my answer and realized there is a means to my madness after all.

telephone, vintage, green, hand, model, surreal,   What began as an inconsequential piece of paper soon took on a life of its own. By finding its way into the pocket of a second-hand shirt, somehow the un-treasured piece of paper went from obsolete to inspiration. For with the tangible essence of the paper came something intangible…a story. Better yet, a story that could be felt and experienced in reality. As a result of ‘coincidence’ and bold action, a connection between two strangers would be forged and a story worth sharing would be told.news, newspaper, vintage, surreal, beauty, model, minimal, studio, studio, beauty, fashion, newspaper, redhead, muse, surreal, Last month I received an email from USC film grad and aspiring comedy writer, Mitchell Winkie. He had recently bought a shirt from my favorite thrift shop, Sunday’s Best. He had no clue that after buying the shirt it would hold additional value. Aside from an amazing fit and a ubiquitous, and not to mention, inescapable smell of thrift store, he was presented with a choice.

He found a slip of paper in his new shirt pocket. On the paper he found a grassroots version of a business card. Written by hand was my name, blog and contact information on index paper. I figured it might resemble the likeness of a flash card and therefore was the best choice for memorization purposes. Confused, he figured he either stepped into the Matrix or had one too many rum and Cokes, resulting in an alter ego, Morgan Ryan…now he was on to something.

zoning, beauty, vintage, redhead, model, surreal, art, beauty,

Wu-Tang, Emoji, Hands, Surreal,

Maybe it was his lifelong desire to receive a message in a bottle or his imaginative curiosity that prompted this manifestation. Or maybe it was his good taste in shirts. Any way you put it, one thing was certain…Mitchell clearly was a pirate too. Kidding. However I’m serious when I say all plausible scenarios led to one universal destination and treasure, a person and a connection.

As he tried to figure out how and why the mysterious paper had gotten there, he made his choice. He entered the game with a comical and entertaining email. Like any smart poker player, I knew how to act. Having already supplied him with a Maverick, he had the advantage. Equally so, I created my own advantage in knowing I had nothing to lose. I matched his email with a response and raised the ante with a face-to-face meeting. We decided on lunch at Sqirl, an innovative joint in Silverlake that serves breakfast until 4 p.m. We were all in…and it was up to Mitchell to figure out if the Maverick was suited for a royal flush or royal flop.

electronics, apple, iphone, surreal, digital age, connected, surreal,

emoji, idea, point, hands, nails,  clap, nails, hand, model, surreal, art  punch, emoji, surreal, art,  point, emoji, nails, hand, model, surreal,

   To Be Continued…Los Angeles, City, DTLA, Serendipity,

|| CREATIVE DIRECTION ||

Jennifer Puno

|| PHOTOGRAPHY ||

Sara Clarken

|| STYLING | MUSE ||

Morgan Ryan

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.

● ◎ ●

|| 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