Liverpool, NY: Closer Look

I took out my Canon t5i and walked around the parkway in Liverpool a few weeks back. I’m trying to find my style in terms of photography. Any criticism or notes you have would be helpful!

(All photos were shot on a 24mm lens.)

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Let me know your thoughts. What was your favorite photo? What elements were good, and which need improvement? Eager for advice!

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Muses

The entire blog post is dedicated to explaining my belief that all art is continuous collaboration. Whether you paint or write or sculpt, your art stems from other art. Obviously, it is so much more than that, but inside whatever work you create, there is a seedling planted from a song or a film or textile.

I talked about ekphrasis as a throughline in my senior thesis work.  In a condensed definition, ekphrasis is a rhetorical device in which one medium of art tries to relate to another medium. In my filmmaking and screenwriting, I found my use of ekphrasis to be constant and thoughtful.

I’ve always thought having a muse was such a romantic idea, until I wrote and made films more frequently. Muses are everywhere and in everything.  Your muse may be your boyfriend or your mom. Your muse may be a tree outside your window, or the sun. Anything that speaks to you can drive you create. As a lover of all arts, I was so happy to find ekphrasis, because I think it is prevalent in all art.

I find comfort in this idea that we continue to build upon everything. Picasso and Braque were Cubists, but I make collages in an attempt to build off of that. I love knowing that art is ever changing, always evolving, forever growing. And while the momentum forward is imperative, that doesn’t diminish the appreciation when an original technique or practice is brought back into play.

I love working on celluloid film, but I appreciate the digital medium for the forgiveness it allows. I love going to museums and libraries, studying paintings and movements that inspired artists of that period. As much as I hate sequels, I love the inertia art inherently creates. Find your muses, and march onward, unforgivingly. Let’s continue. Let’s keep building. Let’s see where our muses can take us.

Hot

 

Your distance is farther than miles

and your warmth is nearly diminished.

There used to be this fire

blazing and soaring

it couldn’t be controlled

too wild for anyone to take reigns.

Maybe time makes fire still.

Maybe months calm the fire and the passion down

and all we have left is a quiet

cool

comfort.

With the absence of heat

the heat which I long for

I feel my nerves start to vibrate

shaking my ribs and collar.

I’m so cold.

My fingertips are losing color

finding blue.

I’m craving the sweltering, burning, fiery

devotion.

Where has it gone?

 

Self Conscious Vs. Self Deprecating

IMG_1328There is a significant difference between not being entirely happy with your body, or appearance, and bullying yourself and allowing severe self-deprecation. As the master of the collar-bone and above selfie, I’m here to talk about my experience in the recent past battling my inner bully.

I don’t need to spend time writing about eating disorders, and why we are so self conscious, because those articles are everywhere. I just want to break down this huge (in my opinion) difference in our response to not being pleased with our bodies. Let’s start with a brief quiz! When you look in the mirror after a shower and you’re displeased, how do you respond?

A. “Huh, that’s probably the cakes I’ve been eating. I need to get to a gym.”

B. “Wow, fat pig. You’re disgusting. You ugly, ugly girl.”

C. Can’t even look in a mirror.

For majority of my upbringing, I really struggled with my body. Answers B and C were all I knew. I was the chubby one in the bunch of skinny little girls. I was called fat at a very young age, and I let that bullying dictate a lot of my own feelings towards myself. It wasn’t healthy, and it wasn’t helpful in maintaining a remotely positive outlook on myself. I have never been happy with my body. That doesn’t mean that I have to absolutely hate myself, and punish my body for not being my ideal vision.

In the past few months, I’ve been starting to understand that my body is not going to be the way my seventeen year old body was. It’s going to grow, and sag, and age like all bodies do. Instead of getting frustrated with myself, I have to figure out a way to allow myself to still love buying new clothes, and going out in public. I cannot be afraid of my body. I’m 23. I’m very aware that my body now is going to be the least of my frustrations. I can’t imagine my body in my thirties, or my body when it’s pregnant. As an extremely body conscious woman, it honestly terrifies me to the point where I consider if I even want a child in me to ruin my vessel. How selfish, I know.

I have been trying to look at my body realistically. This might sound silly to some, but for me, when I got to my ideal size, which was a 4, I then just moved my ideal size down to a 0. If I made it there, would have I tried for smaller? I don’t know. I have never been realistic about my body. I have a history of starving myself, and diet pills, and eight hour days in the gym. I’m not rational in this area. I’m trying to teach myself that when I look in the mirror and my thighs are too big, to ask myself why. Have I been eating the healthiest that I can? Have I been exercising? As opposed to yelling at myself for having a little bit of a tummy, I review why it may be that way. I’m trying to be logical instead of hopeful. I can want a size 4 body until I’m in a hospital. Instead of beating myself up for gaining a mere five pounds or so, I should at least be able to process why my body is the way it is. Is it due to exercise, diet, medication, age, etc.? That alone helps me not to immediately start insulting myself.

I’m not alone when it comes to self-esteem, self-deprecation, not knowing how to handle compliments I don’t agree with, or avoiding certain situations that I won’t be able to guarantee how my body is perceived by others. I hope you can learn to be more patient with your bodies. If you’ve altered your diet plans or exercise, don’t expect immediate results. Don’t be harsh on your bodies when the results aren’t exactly as expected. Don’t let your disapproval for your body grow into emotional bullying. Try your hardest to be rational. As we age, we change, and we change and change again. That’s okay, and that’s what makes us human.

I don’t expect this to heal my self-esteem issues. I don’t expect to fully love my body anytime soon. I just know, that in these past few weeks where I haven’t been screaming at myself for what I don’t like, I’ve been less anxious about wearing what I want to wear, and doing what I want to do. Don’t shrug off other people’s compliments, but don’t rely on them. I’m a sincere believer in loving yourself first.

Let me know if this was remotely coherent. I’ve been thinking about this for a few weeks, but writing it out has been a challenge. Articles like these always comforted me. Good luck on your journeys out there.

 

 

 

 

Moving Muddle

It feels like the first day of January, or the last day of school, but I can’t decide which. My barista hours are over, and all that’s left to do is pick my dad up from the airport and zip my luggage. Goodbye L.A.

There aren’t nerves this time around. I was expecting so much more anxiety, but I’m oddly excited. I’m eager. Ready to take on a new state.

I’m expecting criticism, or pity. People may think that Los Angeles was hard on me, and that I’m disappointed in myself. I’m trying hard to not overanalyze. I’m trying to plan ahead rather than dwell where I can’t change things. I don’t want to have to justify and defend my decisions.

Since high school, I’ve explored southern Missouri and upstate New York along Lake Ontario. Spent weekends in Chicago. I’ve traveled through Utah and Nevada to drop down in Los Angeles. From East Coast to West Coast, and now back East. I have gone to places I’ve only seen pictures of. My life is enriched with deep friendships, new cities, and everything unknown between me and Lincoln, Nebraska.

I’ve never known the feeling of staying put. I’m curious and I like feeling free. Like feathers gracefully floating through the air, I twist and sway without restraint. I go where I am taken. I go where I want to be. There is never any saying on how long I’ll be staying, but I’m young and I’m not tied to anything as of yet.

Reading articles that criticize millennials. I match the criteria very loosely. I am just a freeform liberal who wants a job but doesn’t want to settle down until I’ve seen it all. Maybe that’s lazy, but maybe I’m trying to enjoy this life I’ve been given, rather than work my bones til death. I’ll rest when my career trumps my desire to continue searching.

I want to have these stories and experiences to tell my kids someday. At the very least I want to be able to show my siblings and cousins that they can try and find satisfaction outside of their little midwestern bubble. I don’t want to say I graduated college and then had a baby. I want to showcase risk and travel and failure and curiosity and going after whatever I think that I want. I want to live my life outside the restriction of an academic school year before I take on an 18-year project. I want to live my life as I see it fit to be lived.

There is room for grad school in my future, and maybe Europe, but who knows? I want to make art and meet more people. I desire so much more than a steady career. Moving from Lincoln to Oswego to Los Angeles to Atlanta is so liberating. All this travel. All of the miles put on my little blue Passat. My eyes are so lucky to have taken in everything that they have.

Moving creates anxiety and nerves. But as a 23 year old ADULT, who seeks advice rather than permission now, there are no nerves for me. All there is within me is a fire. I’m running to my next destination with intrigue. I feel good about this.

Los Angeles Foodie Recs

I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Los Angeles, and I want to share some of my favorite spots to eat or grab drinks. I’m a trendy 23 year old who wants an Instagrammable interior with delicious flavors on my plate.

Disclaimer: Los Angeles is an insanely huge city. These are some of my favorite places that I’ve discovered here. There are thousands of other places to find good food with a great atmosphere. 

Summer Buffalo (Burbank) – This is a delicious Thai restaurant tucked away in Burbank. It’s a fairly small restaurant, but super cozy. This is the first Thai restaurant that I’ve ever eaten at. It was a recommendation from my boyfriend. I had the Not So Ordinary Orange Chicken, and he had the Pad Kee Mau, or the drunken noodles. The menu wasn’t overwhelming, and had plenty of options for beginners, or picky palettes. http://summerbuffalo.com/

The Misfit (Santa Monica) – I tried this with my boyfriend on a whim after walking around the Santa Monica pier. We caught happy hour and squeezed in a few drinks before we got seated. It was pretty busy for a weekday night, but it is in a touristy location. The atmosphere is a speakeasy style straight out of the 20’s. I love it. I had the avocado toast (not very wild, I know). It was fine. The cocktails brought the most excitement here. http://www.themisfitbar.com/

Badmaash (Downtown) – As an avid Indian cuisine enthusiast, I loved discovering this restaurant. I went here to celebrate my birthday, and what a treat it was. It’s a mix of traditional Indian with an American twist. I got naan bread with my chicken tikka masala, but my boyfriend opted for a spiced lamb burger. With options like chicken tikka poutine and masala potato fries on the menu, it was a challenge to make any decisions. The food was delicious, and we ended our meal with a cup of piping hot chai tea. Lovely find. https://www.badmaashla.com/

Bottega Louie (Downtown) – Like I’ve said, I appreciate interior design fit for Instagram. Bottega Louie is one of the most beautiful restaurants that I’ve visited. It feels luxurious and magical, but the price isn’t out of line. There restaurant is broken into the pastry shop with retail candies and cakes, there’s a bar area, and there’s the restaurant itself. I didn’t dine here, but I did get a Princess Cake for my birthday. It was divine. Beautiful pastry work, and candies packaged as if they were props in a Wes Anderson film. I’m in love. https://www.bottegalouie.com/

Republique – As you make your way down South La Brea, you’ll find this beautiful French cafe. The interior of the restaurant is stunning. There are bakers tucked in corners working on pastries. It’s delightful. I ordered Walter’s Favorite, for my brunch. Boyfriend ordered the kimchi fried rice. Both plates were satisfying. We left with no complaints. If you can stop in for breakfast, I would recommend that you try to do so. I’ve heard good things about the dinner menu as well. Overall, I would go back again and again. http://republiquela.com/

The Library (Downtown) – My boyfriend and I found ourselves in this charming lounge after a filling dinner. There’s a wall lined with books, a bust of some important man, and leather couches galore. It’s cozy and dark, and most importantly, quiet. It’s a calm bar among the hustle and bustle of downtown. I had a red wine, he had a beer. https://www.librarybarla.com/

Pink’s (Hollywood) – I don’t always require a picturesque setting to eat my meals. Sometimes I love neon pink signs, with a queue wrapping out the front door to a hot dog stand. Pink’s is a L.A. classic for hot dogs. When I finally made my way there, I wasn’t disappointed. There are too many options, but you won’t be disappointed with whatever you pick. The service is fast and the dogs are hot. I highly recommend! http://www.pinkshollywood.com/

G & B Coffee (Downtown) – I’m the coffee snob of all coffee snobs, so when I find a sweet place like this, I’m excited. I’ve tried Intelligentsia and Blue Bottle and a few other popular spots here, but nothing compared to G & B. I got the Business and Pleasure. A double shot of espresso with an iced almond milk cappuccino. My boyfriend ordered a turmeric latte. The distinct menu, with drinks I’d never even imagined made for an eventful experience here. It’s located in the Grand Central Market in Downtown L.A. If you’re ever in the area, take a look. Even if coffee isn’t your thing, you’ll find something in the marketplace. http://gandb.coffee/

These are just some of my favorite places that I’ve found in the past few months here that I’ve loved. If you have any spots in Los Angeles that you can’t get enough of, let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

Bearing Controversial News

Although I am currently in the midst of moving across the country, there was a part of this process that was difficult. The moving and the traveling and the sightseeing is so easy and exciting compared to the very beginning of this journey I’m on. It was telling everyone. My parents. My friends. My coworkers. I was terrified.

I am a perfectionist. I don’t think my life necessarily resembles that, however, I hold myself to extremely high standards. My biggest fear moving to the West Coast was that I might fail. I was terrified that I would give up, or just not make it at all. When I made the decision at the beginning of March to leave, I was nervous to share my news. I care so much how people perceive me. I don’t ever want to come across as a failure. Or naive.

My parents were very supportive of the move. Essentially, they agreed that I’m 23 and only I can know what is going to be fulfilling for me. My sister has expressed her approval. My friends share excitement with me. My boyfriend is supportive as well. My nerves think of the worst case scenario for every scenario. I don’t know why I thought I’d be disowned and looked down upon, when it was fairly well received by everyone.

Dropping big news can be daunting. It’s been really simple so far for me, because I’ve always had the luxury of announcing college acceptances and dreams of where I want to move in person. Good news is always easy to share whether that’s via phone call or over dinner. I think there’s anxiety surrounding announcing anything that is remotely controversial. I don’t think every person in my life will support my move to Atlanta in its entirety. There will be critics who don’t like that I left L.A. after eight months. There’s nothing I can say. I also refuse to justify and rationalize everything constantly, as though I’m apologetic.

If you’re announcing big moves, big purchases, college or career decisions, or anything else that may cause a mixed reaction, don’t fret. Stay strong. Remember why you are making the decision in the first place. Don’t let anyone make you feel like taking that job across the country, or going to college down the street is going to be something you regret. It is so liberating to make your own decisions, and see how those decisions work their way out as you keep going.

A year and a half ago, I made the decision that I wanted to try out Los Angeles. I had all the support, and I made my way West. Now I’m making the decision to head East. Maybe in eight months we’ll discover something else about me. As of now, I’m not apologetic and I’m excited to announce my move.

Don’t let reactions stop you from living and discovering and moving and trying new things. Don’t feel the need to justify your actions. You are your own person, and you have to find fulfillment in the world. You live one fairly short life. Don’t let anyone dictate how that life gets to be lived other than you.

Have you made a big change in your life that made you a little nervous to tell your loved ones?