Beautiful Stranger

Sometimes, a beautiful stranger approaches you and asks to take your photo. A beautiful stranger from Tulum, with wavy sun-bleached hair and warm, smiling eyes. You say yes, of course, and immediately feel a familiar comfort in front of this human whom you've never before met in this lifetime. Sometimes, you discover that he's an incredible artist. You find yourself in awe of his creations; totally drawn in, wanting to know more. Thank you, Juan EspaƱa, for being that beautiful stranger.


Stay Curious

Stay curious; keep learning. Stay hungry for personal growth... in any and all areas. If you love something, keep doing it. Push yourself just a little each time. Learn another aspect of the skill. And another. And another. Improvement is in the doing.

This evening, I decided I wanted to work on my photo editing a little. I edit photos every day, and I love it, but all too often I find myself in a routine. Bump contrast. Add brightness. Lower saturation. Flatten. Play with colors. Repeat.

It's a great system. It works for me. It often produces beautiful results. But when I'm not challenging myself, when I'm not pushing myself to experiment, does growth really occur? I'm sure it does; of course it does. Slowly. But I want to thrive. I want to get excited; to learn something new, and be proud of it.

So tonight, that's just what I did. I started reading an article on simulating VSCO filters -- this very same article introduced me to my last editing breakthrough a few months ago: the world of selective color. As I'm reading this article for the second time, I notice a link to another site; a site that has tons and tons of incredible film filters that you can simply drag into photoshop and place on top of your photos. "HELL YEAH," I thought. "This is amazing."

I notice that each filter comes with some rules -- usage rules put in place by its owner. For personal use only, some say. Use freely, but credit me, say others. Ah, credit. Of course.

So I begin to think... Every time I use one of these photos, do I need to write "filter by ___"? That's going to look kinda lame -- and, more importantly, take away from the impact of the photo. But I'm not going to refuse credit where credit is due.

What to do... what to do...

Girl, duh. Make your own damn film filter.

So, using the ones I just found as inspiration -- being careful to go in my own unique direction -- I play around. The first filter I create, BOOM. Into it. I love it.

And that's the filter you see on the images above.

And that is how these things happen.

Everything is a progression. Sometimes slow, sometimes quick.

You learn by doing.

This filter I created today isn't a result of just my mind. It's a result of tons of minds. The minds that discovered photography; film; cameras. The creators of Photoshop; of the Internet; of the machinery that created my computer. Of the artists who inspire me -- and the artists who inspire them. Of their teachers, and their teachers' teachers. Of the farmers who grew the foods I've eaten my entire life; of the Sun, Water, and Earth, which allowed those foods to thrive.

...I began that last paragraph attempting to make the point that instead of getting a quick answer, it took a little bit of exploring for me to accomplish what I created this evening... but instead, the point somehow turned into the notion that these filters have been a result of thousands -- millions -- of minds, hands, and hours, all leading up to this moment right now. That's the crazier thought.

So I shall end this post on a completely new note than what I had originally intended: My friends, we are all in this together. We all affect one another more than we can fathom; more than our brains can probably even comprehend. Whether we realize it or not; whether we want to admit it to ourselves -- or each other -- or not, we depend on each other. And I think that if we all took a step back once a day to remind ourselves of this... this plane of consciousness might become a bit of a more understanding place to be.

And on a totally different note, I think I'm a little bit crazy.


Ten Things

1. Shoutout bbgirl Jana Kirn for these dope-ass mother effing shots. That girl is pure talent in the chillest form.2. In case you've been curious… the #hummusworm (tapeworm) and its crew are ALLLMOST gone. I'm currently on a 3-week sugar cleanse to rid myself of the remaining sugar-esque substances I was allowing myself (fruit, potatoes, & the occasional Ezekiel product). Turns out it might be my ~*emotions*~ affecting my health more than anything else, but that's a story for a different day. Thank you all for being such an awesome support system throughout all this shit. The road to health sure is full of some damn big potholes. 3. Lately I'm jus liiiike, "AYO SUMMER. WHERE YOU AT?" 56 degrees on June 2nd is just plain blasphemy!4. Two of the people I love most in this world just married each other over the weekend. It was so beautiful, so perfect. I love them both with my whole heart.5. I got to see THIS BABE recently… for the first time in far too long. The original OG FP Julia. My old boss. My gurlfren. My Coachella partner in crime. Now I can't stop thinking about a trip to Austin. We gon' make this happen. 6. When was the last time you and your best friends bough friendship rings? Last week, this one and I did exactly that. I'm obsessed.7. I often wish I could hire someone to play with my hair throughout the day, every day, from the moment I woke up until the moment I fell asleep. 8. Still craving pizza. It's been almost one full year since I had a slice.9. Oftentimes -- usually when I'm on the subway during my morning commute -- I wish there was something I could say to snap everyone out of their own little worlds and come together and just hang. It's not the way we're brought up -- we learn to shield ourselves from strangers, to keep to ourselves for the most part. We develop fears and anxieties about relating to other people. I have them, too. I wish it wasn't this way, and I wish there was something I could do. I wish, I wish, and I know that there must be. I just don't know what. 10. I should start writing in a journal… regularly. Actually, I think I might.


Moon + Mercury

Tonight, Mercury turns retrograde at 9:49 EDT. It's a period to tie loose ends in order to make way for new opportunities; to revisit old patterns of thought and change them in order to move forward in a way that enables us to better serve ourselves. Today, I found myself writing the words you see on this piece of paper. I didn't intend to share this with anyone -- it really was just for me. A record of the thoughts flowing through my mind.

Then, I had a work-ish meeting with a beautiful soul who told me that today also marks a new moon, and that it's the perfect time to write down a list of what we want to accomplish in this moon cycle. So coincidental, as I had already written this little note to myself hours before I spoke with her.

I wanted to share with you guys as inspiration to write your own. Think about how you want to live. How you can better yourself. Ways that you can raise the vibes you put out into the universe. Think up what you truly feel the need to do, big or small. Write it down. No pressure, no judgment. Just write. Feel the words as your pen presses to paper. Breathe them out, and breathe them right back in. Let them fill you up and offer you support.

We were born both from and into this universe. It has an affect on us, and we have one right back on it. Let's just fill everything with big, pure love. Fuck everything else; we don't need any of it.


Work These Days

I'm one month deep into a brand new yet strangely familiar job. New city. New faces. New vibe. New responsibilities. Yet that very same brand that will always be near and dear to my heart. Yes, the girl who said she'd never work in the corporate world again is back full time with Free Peeps. This time in the New York showroom. It's not the same as the job I knew. It sometimes makes me homesick for that Free People Philly life I lived for two crazy years. I miss the comfort of working right next to my best friends... having lunch with them… doing more work with them... and then going home just to hang out with them some more. But change is good and we mustn't remain attached to the past. I'm happy where I am and will (clearly) always always always cherish the memories of years past. I can't wait to see what's to come from here. And besides: I still get to have meetings with FP Jana… even if they are few and far between. <3

PS. I'm runnin' the 'gram now -- follow us!!!