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Me and My Selves: August. Lola. Charlie. Margot.

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Feb 1, 2016

Yoga Beginnings

I decided to begin venturing into the practice of yoga. This is something I have been wanting to do for quite some time. I am no stranger to movement, as I have spent over a decade practicing ballet. Although lately, my body has been dormant, lacking variety of motion. The reason I want to incorporate yoga into my daily life is to give my body the opportunity to move and stretch in ways that will open up stagnant areas, rushing in higher amounts of nutrient-rich blood. This will cleanse the body, preventing long-term build up which may lead to disease. Many of us position our bodies in the same set of positions every day, decreasing blood flow to certain areas. I have some of my own problem areas that I feel could become worse if I let them remain immobile for the next ten years. I have the chance to extend my time here on earth by changing and enhancing some of the things I do everyday such as yoga and my diet. All of this is directly leading me to a greater state of mind, happiness, and inner peace. 


I found an amazing series on Youtube to officially begin my journey into yoga. It is a 30 day Yoga Camp lead by Yoga with Adriene. I have already completed the first two days. She really warms you into the practice perfectly. It is hard to describe her amazing method of instruction, but I will say that she leads you from one movement to the next very naturally, including daily mantras that truly provide mental therapy along with the physical. She knows what you are thinking and she addresses those thoughts from a quirky, lovable and wise perspective. In your own home, you are ushered from the beginning of your journey through to the end, where you are left feeling stronger, activated and at peace. Following her instruction, I have found myself sleeping much better, especially with a steaming, candlelit bath afterwards. Every day I look forward to starting the next yoga camp video because I know that she is going to challenge me just a little bit more than the last video. Productivity is something that has increased in my life since I began my practice in yoga. Everything has been better.


A few days ago I got in the car, drove to Five Below, a store with various items all priced $5 and below. They have a pretty nice basic exercise equipment section. I purchased a yoga mat and two blocks. I began yoga that very day. Purchasing those three items was the small push I needed to jump right in and begin this journey. I did not spend a lot of money on a mat or blocks to start because I always have the option to upgrade once I feel that I have earned it. But I may just keep these, they are good quality materials. The reason I bring this up is to say that I did not let the desire of acquiring fancy yoga equipment, apparel, or studio membership keep me from starting my journey. Spend no more than 15 bucks and work with Adriene. Simple.

Lola Loves
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Jan 27, 2016

The Regaining of My Musical Perspective

I am still trekking along on my journey back to the violin lifestyle. Today I hit a very special place in my violin advancement. Somehow I regained my musical perspective. Something just clicked and I found fluidity in my bow arm, intonation in my left hand and the glories of proper phrasing. I am currently playing the Giga of Bach's 3rd Partita. I will eventually go back to the Preludio, which is exciting and very fun to play. I am taking it one measure at a time, working in smaller chunks of measures per day. This might not seem like much, but I am in essence, choreographing each phrase, sculpting every element of the passage.

Knowing which notes to play short on an up bow and long on the down bow...Knowing when to crescendo over the full measure or in short bursts over groups of 16th notes. I have regained this perspective. The ability to see the shape and form surrounding the sound that I create. This is as important as the intonation. I have been working the past few weeks on some various scale exercises and technical etudes in hopes to train myself a little bit before working on a piece. Of course I will continue my technical practice, but I have now added in some actual music to play. I feel like I've earned it now. Also, I am excited to begin recording my practice sessions. Little excerpts here and there. 

It has been a very long road for me and my violin. I've been studying the craft for 17 years. My parents have sacrificed a lot over my lifetime in order to provide me with some of the finest instructors and musical experiences. I majored in violin performance in college. It's just something I need to do, if not for anyone else, for myself. It is very hard to jump back in once you've stopped playing for a few years. I would say it is the equivalent to being on the football team in college, going cold for several years, then expecting yourself to jump right back in at the same physical level you used to be at. Yes, your mind may be there, but your actual physical skill may not match. That can take a toll on your confidence, as it has mine, but as with most things in my life, I continue to push forward, depsite how many times I stop. If you have stopped doing something you were once good at or once loved, push through and begin again. It feels great. It is reviving. 

Charlie Loves


Jan 21, 2016

Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls

I bought my friends Miss Jessie's products this year for Christmas, since they are natural haired ladies. I got jealous from my own gift and decided to buy myself some as well. The Pillow Soft Curls is meant for wash n go's it reads. It says it's for people who don't want Ramen noodle definition and instead want a larger expanded curl. My hair usually takes on a crispy feel when I put even a little too much of any type of gel or anything really. I used this product for a twist out instead of a wash n go. I usually don't do wash n go's because my hair is really strange, I have too many different textures and some areas just hang loose in curls while other shrivel up dry in tight coils. I meant to post this a while ago but I have not been perfectly aligned with my schedules lately. I have so much swirling around in my head, so I at least need to make sure I don't look as crazy as I actually am. This post isn't going to be as long as usual, I need to move on to some other things, photography and music related so I can get much more exciting things up! 


Dec 31, 2015

Violin Practice Session 1&2

I think I figured out how to keep myself connected a bit more to my practice sessions. Usually, I begin with hopes of reigniting the old flame, but then I am unsuccessful because I expect myself to fall right back in where I left off in my music major highness. When this does not happen, I am left stunned and unimpressed with myself. Instead of wallowing in the reality of a talent gone cold, I have decided to begin journaling a short summary of each run through of a study or piece. I write down exactly how I felt I did, as if I were critiquing a student. I jot down what I did wrong, what I did right and what I need to work on for next time. I also notate the thoughts I had while playing, keeping track of my state of mind. I enjoy writing so combining the two really gives me an eagerness to begin my next session. This eagerness is not something I have experienced in quite sometime. It is refreshing and beautiful.


Excerpt 12/29/15: My goal is to get a fuller, richer and more fluid sound. I think my problems with my right arm fluidity and confidence spawn from my timid nature of practicing, not wanting to be heard or to disturb. I need to get over that as well.

Excerpt 12/30/15: This run was the best so far. Clear and confident. Tone much better, larger percentage of correct notes. Caught 4th finger mistakes early in the etude. Trouble with 4th to last measure, need to spend time practicing that measure. 

Taking it slow I am. My usual problem: Wrap myself up with such energy towards something and end up overdoing, overshooting, overexpecting...and then I burn out. The flame burns rapidly and then it dies just as fast. This is not ideal when trying to begin again on a path once steadily traveled and most recently abandoned. I want it again. I really do. Such a shame to let something so precious go to waste. I will practice a bit every day, and then once I make that habitual, I will practice a bit more every day. I will write after each run through. My husband got me this journal for Christmas. As soon as I ripped through the wrapping I knew it was something special. 

Charlie

Dec 27, 2015

Gathering Inspiration and Maintaining Entrepreneurial Energy

Gathering inspiration for a large project or business idea is one of the best ways to get the energy flowing. Everything is inspired, either consciously or subconsciously. Most of the time I already have set ideas ready to be put into motion. Other times, I need a push in the right direction. This is when I reach out to grab inspiration, as many creatives do. I have a method that reduces the chance that I will pull too much from one source. At the very least I will have two parent sources of inspiration, in which I will combine to create the child. Two separate things joined together to create something completely new. This structure can produce an infinite amount of creative combinations just like how we people are such an amalgam. I love this process dearly, utilizing sites such as Pinterest to collect and organize my visual thoughts. There is also another application I stumbled across called We Heart It, which is similar to Pinterest as it collects and organizes images but it has a completely different type of feel. There are a lot of emo-types collecting semi-depressing picture quotes but bypassing those, it's a relatively fresh site for new images and inspiration.

I am on an incessant, never-ending journey towards greater entrepreneurial freedom. The journey is constant, only evolves as lessons are learned and knowledge is gained. I am back in motion, also with help of my sister who has injected me with some of the same energy I once had an abundance of. She has been a true gift. It is crucial to have a source of strong, positive and moving energy. It is also important to have multiple sources of energy to pull from because it wont always be continuously flowing from one direction. An arsenal must be put in place consisting of people, films, music, books, and whatever else is needed to keep your flame flowing. The most essential thing I can say to anyone reading is that it does not matter how many times you become idled in your journey, you must continue to start again. Journeys are lengthy, exhausting treks from one place to the next. We are bound to take rests, get lost and encounter troubling times. We must steadily start again. Let us continue continuously.

-August

Jan 7, 2015

How I Maintain My Senegalese Twists

I love my hair in twists. It's the best and easiest thing that has happened to me in my natural hair journey. In college, I wore my hair in kinky twists, much shorter and light brown. This is a whole new experience that has resulted in me being very happy that I don't have to worry about keeping up with my hair all of the time. 

While in the twists, I wanted to make sure my hair wasn't just drying up, so I put together an easy regimen to maintain my Senegalese twists. I've had them in for a little over two weeks now. Daily I have been spraying my hair with some leave-in conditioner. A little on the roots and down the twists about halfway. 

The leave-in conditioner that I am using currently is Creme of Nature Argan Oil. It has some strengthening properties and I wanted to be sure my hair could withstand the weight and movement of the twists. After I moisten it with the leave-in, I spray some of this sheen spray over it all to keep it with some shine and flexibility. After doing this, I truly feel like I have a healthy situation going on up there. 

I try 95% of the time to sleep with my satin scarf wrapped over my head after I bun it. After about two weeks, I felt like I needed to refresh my hair. It was looking a little worn and didn't have that fresh look to it. With these twists in particular, they look best super fresh. So I took down one twist at a time and rubbed on a glob of this Pantene Natural co-wash conditioner right onto my scalp at the root of that portion of hair.

I slide the conditioner down to soak the rest of my hair while also dabbing on a bit of Argan Oil Eco Styler Gel at the root. Afterwards, I spray the section with a little sheen spray and retwist. Such an easy situation. I am in love! I considered that to be my wash. Once I got the conditioner soaked in, my hair began to curl up, and I did a super quick detangle before retwisting. And that's it! Super happy I am. :) I'm so lazy when it comes to hair it's not even funny at all. But this right here...this is hair paradise y'all. 

Aziza


Nov 12, 2014

Sakile's Hair Routine for Full Length Retention



Co-wash Stocking Cap Treatment Routine

My darling younger sister, Sakile (Sah-key-lee), has a wonderful hair routine that pretty much results in almost 100% length retention, but the only thing is that you need to be able to casually wear a hat or some sort of head covering most of the time. I would say this is great for college students and anyone who isn't required to wear their hair out every single day. This honestly could work even if you have a weekend off. The reason why this retains all of your growth is because your hair stays moisturized and full of conditioner a majority of the time. She often says after she takes her hair down, she is amazed at the amount of growth. So here's the routine...

Before: Usually already twisted (flat or two strand)

1. Wet hair with warm water thoroughly.
2. Lather in excess hair conditioner
 Aussie Moist- for silky curly defined
 Hello Hydration- holds in moisture
 Tresemme Naturals- dryer
3. Scrub, then rinse out 1/2 to 3/4 rinsed out
4. Reapply heavy handedly
5. Detangle during the styling session, not during wash. Hair should be overly saturated with  conditioner.
6. Leave twists in 2-3 days with a fitted stocking cap on at all times (knee high)
 Two days for lighter conditioner, three for heavier
 Feel free to use deep conditioners, but note: deep conditioners will produce lots of falling residue, so  it's more for hair health and growth, not styling. If using deep conditioner for styling, then use olive  oil to cancel out the residue visibility.
7. Repeat

I took this picture of my sister last month around her birthday. She got her hair straightened. Amazing growth and amazing health. Her routine is a keeper. I have implemented it into my routines as well. Since my job doesn't permit wearing a hat over my stocking cap, I can squeeze this routine in the second half of the week since I work part time. Sakile keeps her hair saturated with conditioner in flat twists under a stocking cap under a hat. When it dries, she may take it down and wear her beautifully defined curls and then start it all back over again. She recently has been going to the Regency hair school to get her hair pressed for $8. They do a fine job and she can wear it straight to enjoy her length. My sister has thick healthy strands of hair and she did a big chop about a year and half ago. Not bad right? 



Nov 6, 2014

35 Shots of Autumn



Fall is my favorite time of year. There is just something about the temperature range, the color palette of the sky as the sun continues its rounds, or should I say as the earth continues its revolutions. It's so interesting to ponder the idea that every single day, we look up and watch the sun move but it truly is stationary. It doesn't rise and it doesn't fall. The earth does all of that as a result of the sun's incredible power. Back to the point, I love Autumn because of the intense series of changes the trees go through. This year in particular, the season has sparked a lot of reflection and meditation on life, my life and the world around me. Very powerful stuff going on.

This is a shot of a piece of wood weaved within a fence that I came across.

My darling trees, they are so breathtakingly beautiful to me. I will never get used to them, as I will never get used to the sky. Always changing. I am so connected to the sights of the earth. It gives me great joy. I love seeing how some trees begin to change leaf colors before others. I love seeing how different trees change to different colors. Some trees go through a series of shades while others remain bright yellow the whole time. 


I've noticed that when the leaves begin to fall, they fall from the top first on certain types of trees, leaving them sort of balding directly under the point of the sun's highest and most powerful position. There are leaves that get eaten to bits while still attached to the stems. And then there are the pines...they don't change much at all. They have no leaves to fall. They remain. 

I stood under a huge bright yellow tree and found a bird's nest that seemed to be abandoned. I am looking straight up. 
There are many trees whose nests get exposed as a result of the falling leaves. I find this to be amazingly beautiful and astonishing to see these homes built and now in plain sight. They are everywhere! Also, the exposure of the branches are wonderful. Every tree has a different structure underneath its leaves. I'm head over heels in love.




I shot this photo a little earlier in the season at my father's house on the very top of his roof. Up with the treetops.


One of my favorite shots Through the Wire.




Sometimes you have to shoot at night with a flash to get bright and contrasty situations. 


Looking downwards in a sewer at the leaves. I couldn't get them in focus...but that's okay.






I loved looking for leaves that fell in strange places.




Another one of my favs. I liked holding the leaves to shoot them. This was by far the largest one.






Nature Coils



Skeletal Structures





A Sea of Yellow

The first Fall shot I took this season. Ironically last in line. Shot from out my bedroom window.



AH FALL!


Nov 5, 2014

CB2 Lamp Love: Rosie Table Lamp



Scrolling CB2 as usual, I came across this beautiful lamp, the Rosie Table Lamp. I think it would be so cute on any surface. Lighting is a huge deal for me. It is just as important as any decor detail and necessary for atmosphere control. Lighting is what makes the difference between an amazing photo and one that is completely dull and lifeless.



Light is everything, and what better way to incorporate light than in a uniquely stylish way. I have done so many variations in light placement and strength, but I haven't yet been able to venture into the design of the actual lighting fixture.


I wish I could just own a light fixture company and help design amazingly unique fixtures, and don't get me started on these bulbs! My goodness I love the creative mind, as well as the engineering mind. CB2 really has some gems. 

Z