Avocado Lovers Unite

Just because we’re in the dead of summer doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a twist on typically baked or toasted foods. Try avocado toast, for instance. You probably didn’t knw there were so many ways to spin this stuff, yet, here we are, reinventing the wheel again.

Twist Your Avo Toast

The Sound of Music

The sound of music will never get old.
The battling between drums and vocals, the cohesion between guitar chords and the banging of a tambourine in between; these are the things that I’ll never take for granted.
Because of music, we’ve all been in love, had our hearts broken to then be pieced back together bit by bit.
Because of music, we’re able to share the feelings we can’t put into words.
We’re able to communicate in ways which the english, and all other languages, fail us.
Because of music, there’s no such thing as borders and boundaries.
There’s no such thing as the inability to communicate.
Because of music, we have human connection, and if that’s something you take for granted or fail to see, then you need more music in your life.
You need to open yourself up to the journey it can take you on.
You need to let go of all dispositions, tape on some headphones and put your Spotify/Pandora/Itunes/Soundcloud on shuffle.
Be one with the music, forget where you are, and go where it takes you.

Right now, let it take—and meditate—you.

 

Millennial State of Mind

Welcome to the millennial state of mind. What’s that mean? Well, it’s the mindset we —the millennials—give ourselves in order to get the job done. To grind it out. To work tirelessly towards what we want, no matter who says we can’t make it, or who says we don’t fit the mold.

It’s getting to the third round of interviews for a dream job and hearing you’re not right for the part, and then you keep trying anyway. You keep grinding at it. You keep going. You don’t stop for anyone, not even yourself, and you refuse to let a negative remark or response deter you from your goals. Sure, maybe you didn’t accomplish something you set out to, but it doesn’t mean you failed.

Why should you listen to me or anything I have to say? Because I’m like you. I’m one of you. I live within a millennial state of mind, and I have had my dreams (or what I thought were my dreams) crushed before my eyes after putting it all on the table. I wanted to quit. I wanted to give up, throw in the towel, and just stop trying. Stop grinding. Stop going after what I want, whatever that may be today. It’s tough when you put everything into something and feel that passion; that fire for what you’ve been striving to achieve only to be told no, you’re too good; you’re not good enough. You have too little experience; you have too much experience. It’s a double-edged sword and it feels like you can’t win, that you’re forever on the losing side of the spectrum.

From one millennial to another, you’ve got this. I doubted myself, but didn’t let it fully take over my reality. The second you say you can’t, you start to believe it. Little by little, it takes over your mentality and all you’ll hear yourself talk about is all of the things you can’t do. See—your brain; your mind. . . they’re powerful. You have everything you need. You have all the confidence and ability in the world. ‘Can’t’ is powerful. But guess what? so is can, and you can do anything you say you can. Why? Because you should. Because you can. Because you will. Because you’re a millennial and if nothing else, regardless of what everyone may think, we know what it takes to be crafty and get what we strive for.

 

Say Yes to What’s Real

and what’s real is Chance The Rapper.
Now, don’t get discouraged because you’re not a rap or hip-hop fan.
That has yet to deter anyone I know from liking Chance.
Why? Because he’s real, that’s why.
He doesn’t rap about the club, or women in a degrading way.
He raps about his life, his struggles, his successes.
He raps about the real world, and I for one recognize, and salute, him for that.

I don’t regularly watch Saturday Night Live, but I’m subscribed to their YouTube channel. Although I admit that YouTube hasn’t shown me everything the minute it happens, I’m happy that today it showed me this video by the one and only Chance The Rapper.
Why am I particularly happy it was this song on this day by this artist?
That’s simple—I’ve been listening to him, and this song (on repeat . . . No seriously)all morning.

His movements on stage are his own, his lyrics are his mind and soul.
He is who he is, and I for one love him, as an artist, for doing so.

Because You Deserve It

Sometimes there are collaborations that don’t work out.
Sometimes there are collaborations that get radio play.
Then sometimes, there are collaborations that happen on the MTV VMAs Stage that are truly of epic and raw proportions.

This performance was one of them, and it was a nice glimpse back in time to the MTV of my youth; the one that actually played music.

I think by now everyone knows how I feel about Twenty One Pilots, so without further adieu, here’s Twenty One Pilots and A$AP Rocky circa 2015. If this doesn’t inspire you on round one of run through I challenge you to come back later today and watch it again, then let me know what you think!

Our Brains are sick, but that’s OK

People—it’s time to get real.
Life is hard, and no one can deny that; no one would dare to try.
But having a hard time and struggling with mental health are not one in the same.One is not valid while the other is a made up, imaginary cry for attention.

It’s time to talk mental health. It’s time to talk mental health diseases and diagnoses, and it’s time to do it in a way that’s not . . . Taboo. Controversial. Fake.

I have no issue owning up to my own struggles with mental health. I’ve talked about it on here more times than I care to count, and there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s me sorting out and explaining to myself that this is OK. This isn’t a thing to be ashamed of, and it’s definitely not a thing to run from. I am not the only one who struggles with and suffers from a mental health disorder. I am not the only one who’s ever had crippling anxiety and the inability to see the world without a haze similar to the after effects of a bomb explosion. I know that, and that’s what’s helped me accept that I needed help. That there wasn’t anything I could do anymore. I was out of resources. I had misused everything I possibly could as a solution, and I needed to get a real one. I needed to figure out why I couldn’t go to my best friend’s party that was for me because I couldn’t get out of bed. I was aware that this wasn’t OK. That I wasn’t OK, and I felt comfortable asking my parents for their support as I sought out the professional help of a psychologist. I have supportive parents who accept me and understand that this isn’t a flaw, this isn’t something that defines me. Not everyone is in the same situation with the same resources. Not everyone can speak so openly about their mental woes due to the fear of being too taboo; of making people feel uncomfortable and awkward. However, that’s not the direction of this piece.

This might be heavy on my mind because it’s been exactly one year since my first therapy session. The therapy session that I initiated by my own will. One that I realized needed to happen through the power of music. Twenty One Pilots got me through from the high to the lowest of low, then straight to the therapist to unravel the mess I had made in my head. If you’re not familiar with Twenty One Pilots and how they could possibly relate to mental health, here’s this:

“Fear might be the death of me, fear leads to anxiety—don’t know what’s inside me.” 

Alright, now that we’re all on the same page here . . . let’s get onto the intended direction of my train of thought.

Here I am, one year after making the first step to a necessary change and road to acceptance, sitting on the floor in my bedroom with Twenty One Pilots on shuffle via Spotify. I can’t help but reflect on the past year, where I was, and where I am now. The line quoted above showcasing Tyler Joseph’s struggle with his own mental health (anxiety), is now less of my journey than it was a year ago. Then, ‘The Judge’ started playing, and I wasn’t really listening fully (in part because I was thinking out what I wanted to start this series with) until I heard:

“I’m a pro at imperfections, and I’m best friends with my doubt.”

Instantaneously I realized this is the part of my journey and road to acceptance that I’m at. I’ve accepted that yes, this is my reality, this is real, and I’m ok with myself looking internally. However, I feel lesser of a person to those closest in my life. I feel either overprotected and microscopically watched, or misunderstood, therefore excessively apologetic. Why is it that I, the defender of un-taboo-ifying (there’s a word for this, but you get what I mean) mental health, feel the need to apologize to those I spend my time with for having moments of suffering out of nowhere?

Mental illnesses, disorders, diseases, whatever you choose to call them—they’re nothing to be afraid of. They’re something a large amount of the population deal with daily. So what’s with the stigma around it? Why do we, or maybe just myself, feel the need to apologize to others when an attack comes on, or panic and anxiety take over and restlessness with a side of severe sass? I don’t know, but I know that it shouldn’t, and I know that we need to talk about it more. We need to talk about it now.

 

And Then There Were Sunsets

No but really…The sun nearly killed this shoot for me, and if it had been about 6 months ago, I would’ve had no idea how to maneuver around this roadblock of disappointment and shattered dreams that some people like to call, “the sun”. However, being the highly adaptive (and too internet savvy) person that I am, I’ve vaguely figured out the various settings to toggle with and am now aware that different lenses require different settings because…light.

Anyways, I’m grateful to be given the opportunity to do what I love (aka see live music) and combine it with my passion for photographing live events and people as they are.

Most recently I was given the opportunity to shoot Migrant Kids at a new live music series put on monthly by Shake Shack. Even though that tricky Son of a…sun…made it’s (unrelenting) debut,  I think the results were admirable.

Check the pho-tos out here, and check out Migrant Kids here (es fo’ free!).

If you’re interested in getting your head rocked by some dope live music and even doper milkshakes, head on out to Shake Shack @ The Domain on October 4th for the last show of the season!

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