Saturday, December 20, 2014

The American Dream

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While I am in the process of chasing my own dreams, there is one thing I refuse to chase, and that is the American dream. What is the American dream? To some it is a beautiful house, a beautiful family and a new car. To other people it is wealth beyond their wildest dreams. We work so hard for all of these things that are supposed to make us happy. We sacrifice so much of our energy, spirit, and time doing things we don't enjoy in order to one day acquire the image of a happy life. Why can't you live a happy life today? What is stopping you?

One idea that has come to bother me a lot this past year is the idea of having to work yourself miserable in order to be worthy of the things that you want. What kind of nonsense is this? What is this idea of having to work harder than everyone else in order to be deserving of happiness? Yes, sometimes in order to get what you want, you have to work hard, sacrifice and even suffer, but to live a life of continuous stress in order to buy the latest phone and make your new car payments is beyond ridiculous. How are these things making you happy? How are they contributing to your overall well-being? Why are you trading your time, your spirit, and your peace of mind for these objects?

What is so terrible about sleeping in late when you feel tired, or moving slowly when you aren't in a rush to go anywhere? Why am I constantly being given the impression that I have to compete with everyone around me in order to be worthy of a happy life? I am living a happy life as we speak. I spend my time in a way that makes me happy and I refuse to feel guilty for doing this. This does not make me lazy or unambitious. I have my personal goals and priorities and I do what is necessary for them, yet I still find time to take care of my own emotional and spiritual needs. I live a balanced life and this is far more rewarding than anything an extra few dollars from working over-time will ever be able to buy me.

“But to believe that getting stuff is the purpose and aim of life is madness. ”
Hubert Selby Jr., Requiem for a Dream

Jacket - thrifted
Sleeveless Turtleneck - thrifted
Plaid Pants - Michael by Michael Kors
Combat Boots - Guess

Photos by Chris Wolfe
follow @wolfemann 
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Friday, December 5, 2014

Being Lost

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Many of us will reach points in our lives where we feel uncertain of just about everything. It's a strange time in one's life to reach this point. Sometimes you won't be sure of who you are, what you want, or where you are going. Sometimes you come to this awkward stand still and feel indifferent to almost everything. You feel almost numb. Things that were once exciting aren't anymore. Certain people aren't funny anymore. You don't even feel the same way when you listen to your favorite song.

Imagine hearing silence even though you are in a room full of bustling people. Everything is in fast forward and on mute. You are standing there without a clue as to what is exactly happening and all you can think to do is just observe and try to take it all in. You don't feel sad or in pain; just confused and frustrated by so many little things. It's like silent chaos. I think that is what it means to be lost.

 Everyone should go through a period like this at least once in their lives. It isn't a bad thing to be lost. It is a sign of you challenging your belief and value system and changing your general view of the world.  You are reassessing what is really important to you and what you want your life to be about. Something about the old way wasn't working anymore and instead of holding onto a failed system and philosophy to remain comfortable, you have decided to move forward in order to see truth.

 Life is about finding truth, but truth is always changing as life continues to evolve. You shouldn't always be certain of everything all time. Something that was once true yesterday, may not be so today. The most important thing about change is to surrender to it. Accept it. No matter how scary it may appear to be, you can't fight it. Fighting will make the process difficult and painful and no one wants that. Just trust and know somehow, some way, that this confusing period of transition is the best thing that could happen right now. You are evolving and growing into a better version of yourself. You are blessed.

Photos by Bryan Ocegueda
follow him @bry_nn

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Static Characters

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I have always had this strange desire to understand and connect to everyone, but as I have become older I have realized this is incredibly unrealistic. The fact is, most people do not have this same desire. To my surprise, many people have no interest in genuinely connecting with many people at all, especially people whom are different from themselves. This is incredibly baffling to me, yet evidently true. How can you grow as a person if you do not expose yourself to and connect with others whom are different from you? You are not expanding your view of reality beyond what your own eyes can see. Your perspective and truth of this world remains shallow and limited. You can't grow. Thus, you remain a static character in a novel written about your own life. How disappointing.

I have always loved meeting new people and learning about how they think and feel, and what their life is like. Every person has a unique perspective and life experience to share. Every person has some wisdom which you, yourself do not yet possess but can learn from. No matter how stupid, incompetent, or shallow you may perceive someone to be, they will know something you don't. Always remember that.

Stay true. Stay strong. Stay brave. Stay forever growing.

Sweater - thrifted
Animal print button down - Michael by Michael Kors
Red corduroy skinny pants - American Rag
Animal print combat boots- Forever21

photography by Bryan Ocegueda
follow bry_nn

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Finding Solitude

 photo DS9C7197 copy_zpsv0oscwpx.jpg A little over two years ago I made a personal and spiritual decision to dedicate myself to becoming my greatest version. As someone who has struggled with depression for the majority of their life, I remember finally asking myself one morning what I needed in order to have a happy and fulfilling life. Almost immediately I answered myself; I need to aspire to discover and achieve my full potential. My happiness would be dependent upon nothing else other than me and my thoughts and my actions.  From the moment I made this decision it seemed as though my life turned in an entirely new direction. My entire perspective of the world had been flipped. Everything began quickly changing, including myself.

More recently, I have found myself seeking and enjoying time spent alone. More than ever, I want as much time as possible to dedicate to my thoughts and being in sync with myself. I still reach out to my friends and family and enjoy spending time with them, however I don't want anything to distract me from my main focus of achieving independence and being free. This is so important and crucial to creating the happiest life for myself and being able to continue to grow and evolve into my greatest version. I want the freedom to dedicate my time to do what I want, when I want it. I want the empowerment of being in control of almost every aspect of my life and and  making a living off of that which I enjoy and am passionate about.

My vision for myself is essentially a life with out limits and worries. I want to travel the world, meet people who inspire me and continually expand my understanding of the world. I want to be financially secure and  able to afford the fine luxuries of life. I want to be able to be there for my friends and family emotionally, spiritually and financially. I want to enjoy the present moment as much as possible. To me this is the definition of happiness.

photos- taken by Linda Ning Jia, @nn_linda,

Shirt - thrifted
Shorts - from Misc. Trading Co in Downtown Fresno. Follow @misctradingco

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sutro Baths

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Life has been quite chaotic these past two months. My vision for my future has slowly been becoming more and more of a reality for me, and this has brought about intense feelings of anxiety. I can't explain what it is like to be so excited and nervous at the same time. It's like that feeling you get moments before the roller coaster you are on is about to drop off and all you can feel is your cart slowly inching towards the edge. My hopes are so high and I see them becoming real, while at the same time I remain nervous of them not being actualized. It's like this continual seesaw of emotions.  I think this is the way one should feel when their dreams have the potential of becoming real very soon.

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Me and my friend Wendie from Cusator Photography had such a great morning hanging out and taking pictures at the Sutro Baths in San Francisco. The Sutro Baths was originally a huge glamorous private bathhouse that had 7 different swimming pools of varying tempertures, slides, springboards, trapezes and a high dive. The facilities were known for being luxurious, exotic and large enough to fit over 10,000 people. All that remains of it today are ruins since it burned down in the 1960's.

It's crazy to think about what it once was. The decaying concrete slabs and caves leave me imagining of what the baths once looked like in real life. The way nature has continued to grow and embrace these ruins is a unique sight in itself. It reminds me of how life continues to go on even when something significant and great has been destroyed.

Photos by Wendie Cusator; Cusator Photography 

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Monday, November 3, 2014

City Girl at Golden Gate Park

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Thought I would share some images from a shoot I helped style a few weeks ago at Golden Gate Park. We wanted a mix between modern and sophisticated with vintage and retro inspired style, and that would also compliment the yellow hay in the picture below. I had so much fun helping out and I think the pictures turned out great.

Let me know what you think.

photos- taken by Linda Ning Jia, @nn_linda,
makeup- Tiffany Chou @tiffchou
model - Shantal Rooke @themodelshantalrooke

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Exploring the City

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I have fallen in love with San Francisco. The energy and life is everywhere. You can see the history in the old buildings, cracked pavements, and confusing streets. There is amazing food everywhere and you can usually see the ocean or the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.

I live for discovering and experiencing new things. Right now I have so much to explore. I want to continue to explore this city and see all that it has to offer. I want to meet new people and understand their perspective, so I can broaden my own. Lastly, I want to learn more about myself.

The past two weeks I have had the pleasure of working with Linda Ning Jia. She is an amazing photographer with a great eye and artistic vision. I have had so much fun collaborating on projects with her. Be sure to follow her @nn_linda and check out her website

Jacket - hand-me-down from my Aunt Jandark
Turtleneck- vintage Banana Republic; amazing thrift store find
Jeans- H&M
Boots - Regina boots from Michael Kors
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