INNOCENT E Y E S

“In a bed of cooling clover, there she lay. With lips like apples, on a crisp Fall day. Her skin was her canvas, for all colors display. However her self-image wasn’t where she held her greatest power. It was in her bright eyes of wonder as she daydreamed in a light slumber where she saw the world anew, growing more beautiful with each days view. And till this day, she never let anyone tame her innocent e m e r a l d eyes.”

-m.r. || 9.11.14

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It was shortly after sunrise as I pulled off the 101 on my way to work. The brisk morning air met my sea salt sprayed hair that was pushed off my face with a headband. I took a sip from my morning elixir. Today it was what I call The Fountain of Youth: a yellow blend of coconut water, mint, mango, turmeric and lime. As I rolled up my windows, I bobbed and swayed to the music that played from my car speakers. Entranced by the delight of the present moment and my undeniable state of being, I was too preoccupied to realize the gaze of two men across the street who smiled in admiration. As I parked and stepped out of my car to greet the day, I found it planned to greet me first.

“Have a beautiful day,” the man said.

I smiled, appreciating the use of the word beautiful.

“It will be more beautiful than yesterday–and the next day will be more beautiful than the next.” he added.

To many, the encounter would seem normal and friendly, yet for me it held more of an impact. On the drive leading up to that moment, I had been thinking about my recent shift in perception. Prior to that week my life seemed to have slipped into a stale state of boredom. I wondered what I had lost and where it had gone?

I realized I hadn’t lost anything, it was only hidden behind worn eyes…and I held the key.

The key was seeing the world through fresh eyes of innocence. That’s when the door unlocked and everything was renewed. I stopped driving the same path to work everyday. If I did choose to drive the same path, I looked for something new to appreciate that I hadn’t noticed the last time. Similarly that week I began relaxing in the same spot beneath the shade of a tree. Each day I would notice the world around me without any judgments or preconceived notions. That was when I realized my wonder and zest for life was truly fulfilled again.

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You see innocence never fades, it can only be covered up. Concealed behind the expectations and labels we create as a means to put meaning behind everything we see. When you choose to uncover your innocence, you will re-discover a world of wonder and joy you once knew as a child.

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Pretty Thoughts

You looked at me with certainty.
I couldn’t look away.
Took your jacket off like,
Like you were here to stay.
Chasin’ your pretty thoughts
And your plastic love.
There goes my mind,
Let it go.
You’re that lace trimmed danger,
One day you’ll be the face of a stranger.

-Pretty Thoughts, Alina Baraz

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We were dancing and I was feeding off the energy of everyone around us. We weren’t necessarily dancing together but we seemed to compliment eacb other nicely as people undeniably noticed us. He looked at me with his effortlessly cool smile and said,

“You’re the freest spirit of them all.”

I know I’ve always maintained an air of freedom about me and I’m aware of my ability to adapt to any environment,  but I never truly connected myself to the word “free-spirit,”not until that moment. I guess it’s because connecting myself to a word then begins to feel like a label, and I tend to run away from any type of restriction. (Yet again another hint that my spirit needs freedom to roam, guess he’s right)  You never really believe something until you hear it from someone whose opinion matters.

.  .  .

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 As a result of my curiosity and love for the unknown, I learned more about the term and as a result I give you The Free-Spirit Commandments:

1. Be Free

 live your life as a free agent and don’t be afraid to contradict yourself

2. Pursue your Passions

but also take the time to figure out what they really are – which is arguably much more difficult. 

3. Let Go of Barriers

when you’re brutally honest about the barriers in front of you can you find solutions for moving past them.

4. Let Go of Rebellion

disliking something simply because it’s conventional is just as mindless as liking it for that same reason.

5. Be Here Now

engage with the people, places, and things around you on a deeper level and you’ll find that your reactions to them will suddenly become a lot more authentic

6. Starve The Ego

the death of authenticity; once you become more interested in impressing than being, everything you’ve been working toward will disappear.

7. Honor Others Freedom

remember that your freedom ends where everyone else’s begins.

.  .  .

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

 

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Puttin’ on the Ritz

“She learned to survive and reinvent herself.

She envisioned a better, elegant future for herself.

Like me, she knew you had to have a vision.”

-American Hustle

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The Ritz Carlton in Downtown Los Angeles, March 2014

Photographer/Director, Evan Woods

Model/MUA/Stylist, Morgan Ryan 

 

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“There is it,”  he said. I focused my eyes in the direction of Evan’s attention.

The Ritz Carlton.

It shined liked a beacon of light against the dark starlit sky. A diamond amongst all other skyscrapers. Outlined in fluorescent light we were innately drawn to its beauty, like moths to a flame. Only this time we were bringing the heat.

As we made our way up to the lobby, a  dormant volcano in my stomach awakened from its once deep slumber and began to bubble. This feeling can be described as excitement mixed with a dash of danger. As a little girl my dad would ask if I wanted  go on a mission. By ‘mission’ he meant errand, but the aspect of play surely made the mundane feel exciting at that age. Their was a spark of this childhood memory as we entered the 5 star hotel. We merely intended to use the space as our playground and like kids in a candy store that would be no issue.

.  .  .

 I jumped out of the shower when my phone rang.

“Helllurrrr, I’m Here,” sang a familiar voice.

Shit.

The sun was setting and we were in a rush against time. Evan rummaged through my closet as I began doing my makeup, which consisted of a simple bold magenta lip and some mascara on the top lashes. My hair still wet from my shower, Evan encouraged me to leave it and let it air dry. This put me face to face with one of my pettiest fears,  going out in public without styling my hair. To be completely honest, I have always gone out of my way to control my hair and keep it as far away from it’s natural wavy state. At that moment, Jim Morrison reminded me,

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that,

fear has no power,

and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. 

You are free.” 

A good photo comes down to execution and performing under pressure, and you either got it or you don’t. Evan and I began a method of creation in which I simply coin, “guerrilla editorials.” With a spontaneous element to our work, we don’t necessarily plan our shoots. In a way, we go against everything that has been taught about a standard photo shoot. We move based on instinct and intuition. Till this day I still seem to surprise myself  with how easy things work out when you don’t try.

One thing is for certain:

We don’t follow rules,

we go out of our way to break them.

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Teenage Wasteland

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Golden Slumbers by The Beatles plays through my mind as beams of sunlight creep through the canvas sheathed windows . As I open the door to  greet the sunshine that welcoming knocked, I’m instantly paralyzed by the intensity of the desert heat.  I surrender to the warming embrace of the sun and lift my face in exhilaration towards the breathtaking skyline. The view is a spectacular sight, where the mountains meet the endless blue sky . I look down at the pool area from the balcony to catch a wave of nostalgic daze.   The crystal clear pool water looks like a quenching oasis, adorned with circular shaders scattered alongside lounge chairs where vacationers sip on cocktails and sway along to  indie pop music and the classics such as, Bob Dylan.

I couldn’t help but feel as though I was transported to another decade…

I walked directly into the 1960’s.

The Ace Hotel has maintained the retro essence and culture of Palm Springs through its decor and architectural design. Classic shades of cream and burnt orange splash the walls. As you walk into the hotel room, you can’t help but feel as though your a rebellious teenager crashing at someones pad for the weekend while they’re out of town.  This ‘lived in’ shag pad feel is created with posters and magazine clippings hung on the paneled walls, giving it a hipster dorm room flair. The light fixtures are two toned lights with bulbs on either end, one is red and the other is white, creating a cool option for mood lighting.

There was so much life at the Ace Hotel and Palm Springs in general, a sense of a long lost soul creeped into my bones. I definitely felt a sense of home here, maybe many lifetimes ago I had been here once before.

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