With my credit card miles on the cusp of their expiration date, I decided to do a little research on how far my miles would get me. Discovering a direct flight would only cost me $5 + 25,000 airline miles, I settled on California, someplace I’ve always wanted to visit. Then the question begged, where in California? With so many cities in the Golden State I would love to see, I wanted to get the most out of my money (or airline miles in this case.) After receiving some feedback from friends and coworkers, I decided on San Diego.
The couple months before my trip were exhausting. I was very busy at work, and couldn’t wait for my vacation to finally arrive. Every day I imagined laying on the beach and taking in the scenery. There’s always something nostalgic about being in a new place. Especially when you have all the time you need, no one in particular to see and no place to be at a certain time – just experiencing a real vacation.
I had such a good time in San Diego. It was a real reminder of how important it is to take a time out from everyday life. Turn off your phone, tune out the tapes playing in your head, lie on the beach and listen to the waves. Your body and mind will thank you.
Last night my husband and I were sitting at the dinner table and discussing our future: saving more money to buy our first house next year. During our discussion my husband said, “Just think of everything that happened this year…and we’re only 8 months in!”
He got me thinking…
I thought about where I started off in January, what I went through from February to April and how I ended up in August. The past, present and future came into focus and shined a bright light on all the things I’ve learned so far this year:
1. I discovered what true friends are. It’s great to have a lot of friends, but the truth is, not everyone is your friend. It takes time to get to know people and maintain relationships with them.
2. Not everyone has to like you. I’ve never understood why no one would like me. Truth is, no matter how hard we try, unfortunately there are people who just don’t like you (and me).
3. Even the most confident people can be nervous and socially awkward. It’s not you, it’s them.
4. People are easily intimidated, insecure and vulnerable. Once you realize that very fact, it’s easy to deal with people on almost every level and situation. Simply empathizing with someone and not taking their actions towards you personal, they will take notice of your confidence and start to feel at ease with you.
5. Material possessions do not make up the person you are. They are only a reflection of your taste. It might be hard to prove your authenticity to the world when you’re sporting high fashion and driving a Mercedes. If you saw Warren Buffet on the street, you wouldn’t know he was a billionaire. He doesn’t carry a cell phone or a laptop. He supposedly doesn’t have any interest in spending money on electronics. Smart man!
6. Perfection is seriously overrated. Embrace your imperfections. They build character and will teach you valuable lessons.
7. Be yourself. Most people can spot a fake and their plasticity from a mile away. Just when you think you’ve perfected your “façade”, think twice, people are very intuitive. They can read you like an open book and see all the cracks under your façade. You’re fooling no one.
And finally, and this is the most important one;
8. I am worthy. We are all worthy.
Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to put 2012 in perspective. Start now. What have you learned so far this year?
We have become a boilerplate society that exists on fake fronts. From our Twitter bios to our Facebook pages and LinkedIn profiles, we have stopped showing our true selves in order to sustain some kind of fantasy of who we really are as humans. We have stopped sharing our true stories, experiences, fears, and goals in order to save face and sustain and follow some sort of brand.
In my personal experience, I have been encouraged both personally and professionally by friends and colleagues to “like” more, conform more, buy more, and consume more. To think less, speak less, question less, empathize, and sympathize less. Social Media terminology like friends, followers, and tribes seem like a way to sugar coat words like, numbers, metrics and dollar amounts.
Sadly, if it weren’t for Social Media, I wouldn’t have relationship with my extended family and even a lot of my friends. Is this you too?
Isn’t social networking supposed to bring us closer together? Or has it created a virtual society of personas that only make you THINK they care and are authentic? Are we really connecting? Are we really on the same page or is “social media” just making us think we are.
These are questions I will continue to explore as I use social media. I welcome your opinion! Feel free to email me to share your thoughts, experiences and stories. Salud!
Do you know where you’re going? Are you doing what you love? Are you living the life you want to live? No really, are you?
There was a time I thought I knew what I wanted and what would make me happy, but once I had it, I became totally overwhelmed with it all and one day realized that what I always thought I wanted was not for me.
I have also found that doing what you love and you are passionate about will catapult you farther than you ever thought. If you are working for a company that leaves you sleepless on Sunday night because you know you have to be back there in 10 hours, then you need to move on. If you work for a company that does not support your ideas, suggestions or contribute to your professional development, then you need to move on. If you happen to work for a company that does not respect your family time, then I really hope you consider moving on.We need unplug ourselves and disconnect from our devices. We need to tune into our surroundings and make a difference
It seems that our generation is working for and buying from corporations and companies who care more about their bottom line than their hardworking employees. Honesty, authenticity, sustainability and families are no longer important to some employers. This attitude creates high-anxiety, paranoia and low productivity for employees. It drives us workers to reform, react negatively to our colleagues, consume, watch more TV, not exercise, abuse substances, and forget about our environment and the others around us – including the best interest of our families, our community, and our neighbors.
We have become a society that has to outsmart corporations in order to survive as humans. We have to outsmart the upper-management in order to keep our jobs. Once we have a clear vision, a plan and a solution, we can finally stop worrying about being so competitive. We can stop worrying about being perfect; giving a great sales pitch for the companies we work for, worrying about our job security, and our financial future. We can all start focusing on doing what we love and what works for us, our family and our community.The Corporate Herd. We stuff ourselves in subways, trains and buses and huddle together on escalators, elevators and sidewalks as we disperse to our corporate jobs.
Another moment in life wasted by standing in line at Starbucks so we can caffinate our bodies and head back to the office.
Step one is changing our mindset and to start thinking about OUR future instead of focusing on our next paycheck, worrying about the next market crash or if we might be the next one to receive a pink slip.
Take your passion and run with it. Pour your heart and soul into whatever you want to do or whoever you want to be in life. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re wrong or that you’re going to fail. Most importantly don’t let that little voice inside you tell you that either.
I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I hope that I have started to make you think about your path in life. I will leave you with a quote that I contribute to my success:
An Open mind and Optimism Opens doors for Opportunities.
Let this be your mantra and you will get where you want, and need to be.
Today is somewhat of a celebration for me. I am celebrating the reinstatement of my website and starting again the ritual of writing, expressing myself both emotionally and creatively. I have always loved writing, and I am excited to discover where this journey takes me!
Almost two years ago I was hired by a professional firm to blog and manage their social media efforts. This became a very daunting and not at all cathartic task for me! Blogging and managing social media for another company has given me little-to-no time for managing my own. Over time, I let my websites and blogs lapse. I noticed during this time I was missing something – obviously missing an outlet to express myself, to write things down, gather my thoughts, make lists, make promises to myself, record my areas of exploration, creation and finally, have a place where others can come to be inspired by the things I have written, photographed, designed and created.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates
I feel that it’s important to inspire others through personal explorations and creations. I want to help others. I believe the act of inspiring and helping others keeps me on the “right path.” Whatever the “right path” is and wherever it leads, I am chanting for Explore Create Inspire to be an outlet for myself and for others as well as a place that everyone can come to be inspired. I shall leave you with my photos of my favorite moments from this wonderful weekend. Salud!
My nephew Connor, swimming in our pool
My daughter, Aulay Rose, swimming as well
Los dos amigos, Connor y Aulay
Sunday morning breakfast, Homemade Banana Bread and Strawberry Jam with the help of my nephew Connor.
Lunch? Fresh and Local (Direct from the Farmer’s Market) Arugula and Basil Pesto with handmade Oat and Spelt Pasta with a Californian Red Wine.
As I browsed through my Facebook friends before deleting my account last Friday, I started to realize there would just be some people I didn’t keep in contact with nearly as much without Facebook. All the “once in a lifetime” tagged photo’s of my friends and I would be gone. Messages that brightened my day and made me smile would disappear. The list went on about the benefits of social networking I would be missing out on after I deleted my Facebook account. I finally realized, in this day and age, it’s just easier to keep in contact with friends and family via Facebook. Maintaining any relationship in real life or via the internet will cause some kind of drama or stress down the road. Why not take it all in stride? Life is all about taking the good with the bad.
So I decided NOT to delete my Facebook account after all. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing, I’m not sure, yet. Only time will tell.
Anyway, I read a very interesting article in the Washington Post yesterday about social media and the internet and how affects our lives and redefines our relationships with friends and family. After reading this article, I have to admit, I don’t feel so alone in my journey to express myself freely without causing unnecessary drama or tarnishing my online reputation. This article is a must read!
In the end, I hope everyone finds peace and a balance in their social networking experiences and online relationships.
With no funds to attend Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School yesterday, I decided to stay home and spend some quality time making art with my daughter, Aulay. It was a dreary, rainy day here in the Baltimore/Washington area, so it was a good day to stay indoors and make art!
I was digging through some boxes the other day, organizing all my junk, and found some tracing paper I wanted to pass onto Aulay. I remember as a kid, experimenting with tracing paper gave me the ability to feel the fluidity of drawing the outline of an object and later gave me the confidence to draw that same object on my own, without tracing paper. Young children need to develop a technique to draw everyday objects. Tracing an object first gives them the ability to do so.
We started out tracing some black and white Edward Weston photographs and when Aulay got bored, we moved on to tracing “Dora” with watercolor paints and a paint brush.
I am currently in the process of changing this blog over to a WordPress.org format. It will be a under a different domain and mainly used as a resource for parents who are artists.
More information to follow soon, I promise!
My professor in college once told me taking pictures of babies, children or animals doesn’t make for “good” photography. I also know now that she was not a parent and when you’re an artist who does not have children, taking pictures by those guidelines are simple. Although, when you’re an artist and parent like me, it’s hard to find a balance between working, spending time with your children and being creative. I was always told by other artists and parents the continuity of creativity was hard and it is! The key is finding the time to create art and be consistent with it. The reason I’m so driven to be creative is because of my daughter, Aulay. Above is a picture I took of her last night as she lay sound asleep on the bath tub ledge. Children will always be our muse. Even though taking pictures of children might not be “avant-garde” photography, it still fulfills spending quality time with our children and gives us the creative outlet we need as artists and photographers.
A photographer named Sally Mann has always served as an inspiration to me. Her controversial black and white photographs of her children suggest darker themes of insecurity, loneliness, injury and sexuality but also depict typical childhood themes such as skinny dipping, reading the funnies and dressing up. These photographs are considered to be a natural look through the eyes of a mother, since mothers see their children in every state: happy, sad, playful, sick, bloodied, angry and even naked. I recommend to all the parents and photographers out there to discover Sally Mann’s black and white photographs and let them serve as an inspiration to you.
Hey folks! Yet another Dr. Sketchy’s event under my belt. Viola Van Wilde was a great model with an amazing curvaceous figure to sketch, although I couldn’t seem to sketch her figure accurately. I felt a little off kilter. Whether my sketches were accurate or not, I certainly learned from all them. Sketching gives me the opportunity to find out which techniques work for me. It gives me a chance to explore and discover my style. Up until now, I never felt my art work had a style or an identity. One day I want someone to look at a piece of art and know that it was I who created it. Style should replace signature. By that I mean art should be different, noticeable and well known so there is no need for an artist to sign their work. No one can re-create a Chuck Close painting like Chuck Close. No one can do mixed media like Jasper Johns or create installations like Jean Claude and Christo. Every artist has their niche and I am just another artist trying to find my niche, style and identity.
I am planning on attending Artdromeda, a music and arts festival in Baltimore, May 6-8th. It will feature work from local artists as well as performances from artists, dancers and musicians. A talented friend of mine, Calvin Garner, will be DJing at the event Saturday, May 8th. Please check out the Artromeda website for more information.
This weekend was AMAZING! After a long harsh winter here in the D.C. area, we’ve been blessed with beautiful weather, temperatures in the upper 70′s and not one drop of rain. The recent spring weather has revived my creative inspirations, giving me the urge to explore nearby cities, visit parks, sites and of course, start taking pictures again. Photography was my first love. As a college student, I roamed the streets of Philadelphia taking pictures of life in the city. I thrived with creativity by taking pictures, spending hours in the darkroom and in front of a computer editing digital photographs with Photoshop. Since becoming a mom in 2006 and the sole provider for my daughter, my photographic tendencies have subsided, leaving me only enough time to photograph my daughter during holidays or special events.
As an artist passionate about photography, I’ve always wanted to make the photographs of my daughter as creative as possible. I made a decision to utilize my skills in photography, finding new and inventive ways to photograph my family. I encourage all moms to practice this as well, finding innovative ways to photograph your children. Become in touch with your creative side and have fun with it! Not everyone has an eye for color and composition. It’s something that is developed over time. I’ve been taking pictures and photography classes for over 12 years and still have a lot to learn! Enjoy capturing these moments, for your photographs will be passed on to your children, your grandchildren, their children and so on. Let your legacy inspire you to take beautiful photographs to be handed down for generations to come!
The main event of our weekend was the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual event that celebrates springtime in Washington, D.C. as well as the 1912 gift of the cherry blossom trees honoring the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and celebrating the continued close relationship between our two cultures. The beautiful spring weather definitely welcomed the blossoming trees and camera carrying visitors in pastel colors invigorated by nature’s gorgeous occasion. It was certainly a weekend to remember for many springs to come.
For more information on the history, art exhibitions and special events, visit The National Cherry Blossom website. All special events and exhibitions will be held through April 11th, 2010.