blogging

SELF LOVE

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a couple of weeks ago i went to get my haircut. i had arrived early to my appointment so i sat in the lobby waiting patiently when a mother and daughter walked in. the daughter was maybe 12 or 13 years old and i thought oh how i remember those days. Getting my hair cut but needing my mom there for support because “what if it turns out ugly? what if i hate it? and how much am i supposed to tip?”. they sat down across from me. shortly after, their hairdresser came out to greet them but before she could even finish saying “good morning” the mother had began pointing out what needed to be done during this appointment; “she needs to have some color added to brighten her up, don’t ya think? make her not so frumpy?” “she can’t have bangs because her face is too wide” “maybe let’s keep her hair long so it’s still pretty”.

i was in shock, i couldn’t even imagine how this girl felt at that moment. i try to look at her face, but her eyes are glued to the floor. I’m staring at her for what feels like a solid 10 minutes but i needed her to make eye contact with me. i needed her to see that i was there for her…with her. that i thought she was beautiful just as she was. i can sense that my staring was becoming uncomfortable and maybe a little intrusive but off they went, to begin the makeover. i felt defeated. it’s not any of my business, i shouldn’t care but i did. i wanted her to know that she wasn’t alone, we’ve all been there. we’ve all experienced a blow to our self esteem, the confusion about your self worth, but i wanted her to know that it doesn’t last.

i’m overcome with my thoughts and emotions (don’t cry in public, don’t cry in public, don’t cry in public). i think of my childhood, my insecurities, my own experiences with my self esteem. i can’t remember when my confidence began to fade, but i remember when someone had pointed out to me that it had. it was at a thanksgiving dinner back when i was in high school. a family member said to me, “you used to be so sassy, you didn’t care what anybody thought- you said whatever you wanted because you were MACKENZIE!”… i lingered on the “used to be” part of that statement. was i not this way anymore?? if i wasn’t, then what was i? i felt like i had a grasp on who i was (kind of)… but i knew deep down that part of what they said was true. i wasn’t that same girl anymore, i cared what people thought of me but what i didn’t care about was what i thought of myself. i didn’t think it mattered. no one in my family exercised self love. i don’t think any of us really understood it or knew how important it was. we could see all the great qualities in each other but none of us could see it in ourselves. what i couldn’t understand back then was how loving myself, embracing my quirks and owning my flaws would open up my whole world. i don’t need anyone else’s opinion to validate who i am, at least i don’t anymore. it wasn’t until my senior year of high school that i really started to figure out who i was (i’m a late bloomer). i had quit pep squad and began to focus my attention elsewhere… photography. i had taken my first class during my junior year and continued through to my freshman year of college. i found a whole knew confidence in creativity. i felt like i could finally see what i should have seen in myself a long time ago. i am creative. sensitive. funny. and strong.

self love is so important, it’s the foundation of you. there will be people who will try to knock it down, but you must protect it. remind yourself of who you are and love yourself for who you are; a lover, an aries, a creator, a sister.

happy valentines day to you. xx

ALMOND BUTTER ACAI BOWL

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ingredients:

  • 1 packet of frozen acai mix
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 2 bananas- 1 for topping
  • 2 tablespoons of almond butter
  • 2 cups of frozen strawberries, blueberries and kale
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • granola
  • fresh strawberries, blueberries and blackberries for topping

ACAI 1there really isn’t much to this recipe. run hot water over the frozen acai packet and then squeeze into the blender. add in the frozen berries, kale, banana, almond milk and honey. once blended, i taste to see if it needs more of anything. this time around i added some fresh strawberries to the mix for more sweetness.ACAI 9i think i would skip the blueberry topping next time. it’s not their fault, i just don’t like little balls in my food. it took some time for me to even like the idea of boba….ACAI 4ACAI 10

MOAB UNDER CANVAS

moab-9i don’t know who started throwback thursday but i’m glad they did because i’m using it as an excuse to share some old photos. about two years ago, i had bangs! okay- that’s not what this post is about but when i had those bangs i took a road trip to the wiiiild west. i went through nevada, arizona and utah. i was talking to someone recently about utah and told them of my favorite places on my trip- moab under canvas; no electricity, no wifi, just the red mountains and the stars.

this place was an absolute dream. we were just 15 minutes away from town so we would go to the local grocery store to stock up on snacks (wine) and pack lunches for our days at the arches national park. one night as we were on our way back from the store, there was a lightning storm. we grabbed some food, sat on our deck and watched the sky and the mountains light up. it was beautiful… probably dangerous, but so beautiful. moab hasn’t seen the last of me, i’ll definitely be back.

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LUNCH TIME

picnic-25i don’t know what’s more fun- photographing the food or eating it. happy lunching!!

  • cucumber sandwich
  • arugula, almond, cranberry salad
  • cream cheese, apricot jam, walnuts and water crackers

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THE PEOPLE. EMILY NG LITTLE

85930014emily ng little is a freelance artist living in los angeles with her husband nicholas, their pup cooter and their cute baby girl lucy. after graduating from college in texas, emily made the move to california and started her career as a production designer, stylist and art director. we met about two years ago working for the same production company. we spent a lot of time together on set and quickly our relationship blossomed into such a sweet friendship. not too long ago emily and her little fam started making these adorable stop motion videos that she shared with her friends and family. i asked emily if i could come by to take some  photos and see where the “magic” happens. i got to spend a full day with the littles and it was such a treat! you can find all the fun babe&bunn creations here.

theblog: it’s sweet that these videos are like a family affair. how does everyone contribute to the task?

emily: “if we had titles mine would probably be the creative director and nicholas would be the technical director. once we decide on what video we want to do, i’ll usually come up with the general idea and story. after we come up with a cohesive idea, i’ll storyboard it and break it down into a props list and start sourcing materials and making everything. when we’re ready to shoot we set up everything in our living room. the camera is actually just my iphone attached to a light fixture in the ceiling- we’re super low budget. {laughs] animating with the baby can be a huge challenge because she doesn’t take direction very well. when we’re done shooting i’ll do most of the editing in photoshop and aftereffects. then we add the music, which is just me playing a really simple tune on the ukulele. when it’s finally all put together, we’ll watch it a couple times then high five and drink a beer and that’s pretty much our entire process.

theblog: what made you want to start doing these stop motion videos?

emily: “well as you know, you actually have an indirect role in the conception of what we’re calling the babe&bunn videos. after moving to la a few years ago i decided to take a step back from contemporary art and began working in the art department for film. after doing a gig at a stop motion studio i realized that’s what i really wanted to start doing, but at the time i was really beginning to flourish as a production designer and stylist. after i got pregnant and had to stop working for a while i decided to use it as an opportunity to make a career shift. it was hard to get back into any sort of studio practice and working on my own stuff, especially trying to find time with a newborn, but then your sister’s wedding video came along. you asked all of us to make a video of ourselves toasting the new couple. the criteria was that we had to be in it, we had to be holding a drink and we had to say “cheers to the conroys”. i suppose it was one of those things where limitations breed creativity. it was so much fun to make and came together so quickly and organically that we wanted to ride the adrenaline and make another. it felt good to work on something again, creatively and in the general sense. it’s all kind of silly, really, but really fun too. we have a youtube channel and everything!”

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theblog: did you grow up in a creative/artistic household?

emily: “you know i didn’t. not really. i would say that i grew up watching my parents work with their hands a lot and through that may have acquired traits like dexterity from my mom and meticulousness and high standards from my dad, but creativity was sort of this innate thing in me. my parents said i was very curious as a kid – i couldn’t sit still and had to be fiddling with stuff, figuring objects out. it was the same in school. i pretty much went overboard on any sort of creative project and would spend way too much time and energy -i would even get teased for being such a nerd about it. i was always interested in art and creative writing but i never considered it any sort of career until college. although i knew i wanted to work in the creative field, i was undecided for a while and thought about going into fashion or advertising or interior design. ultimately, i found out that the art school required the least amount of academic courses and at the time, i was really over the traditional structured idea of school, so i decided to apply and got in. it was a bit impulsive, but discovering the contemporary art world was really new and different than my previous academic life- it felt very freeing and full of possibility, like i was finally good at something.”85930012theblog: how’s life as a new mama?

emily:“it’s wonderful. i still find myself completely overwhelmed with the idea that there is now this tiny human being living in our house. everything she does is basically the most impressive thing my husband and i have ever seen. seeing her discover the world and how she takes everything in is really kind of this constantly miraculous thing. time, priorities-everything is different, more urgent. but at the same time there is this casualness to it all, this naturalness to motherhood. i guess i would say that being a new mom is a life full of dualities. it is without a doubt the most challenging and rewarding experience i’ve ever had in my life. i can tell you all the things that makes having a baby difficult-never getting enough sleep, never having personal time to do anything, testing your patience to the limit-but i can’t quite articulate what makes being a parent so particularly amazing. there’s just something about having this little thing who relies on you and loves you so much, who is full of potential, who you made and is made of you. it’s indescribable.”

“i really want her to grow up knowing my creative spirit.”

theblog: do you find creating more fun with a baby?

emily: “ha! well, i will say that it is difficult to do much of anything with a new baby. but my creative self has definitely felt a sense of renewal and the mindset that i’m in now is much more productive and spontaneous. life is less dramatized and nowadays, whenever i have a tiny window of time i’m using it to it’s fullest potential because that time is so rare. lucy has definitely been a great source of inspiration-not just for the videos but as a reason for making. i really want her to grow up knowing my creative spirit. i think all parents must find themselves being more creative. you spend a lot of time just playing. she’s still a bit small, but i’m looking forward to the really fun stuff like making castles out of cardboard boxes and putting some sort of band together with the dog.”85930008

theblog: do you think you’ll keep doing these videos when lucy gets older? 

emily: “you know, i’m really not sure. right now we’re having a lot of fun with them and are planning to continue making them but i feel like they may evolve. once she’s older we’ll have to consider how she’ll want to be involved and if she wants to be involved at all. but i’m also interested in exploring other avenues within this format. i’m just really looking forward to seeing where this all goes.”85930015

CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA BREAD

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for the past month i haven’t really spent a weekend at home- between traveling for the holidays and spending time in orange county, my poor bed started to wonder if i’d ever come back. this weekend i decided to stay in la to clean and reorganize my apartment because “new year, new me” is in full flux… yesterday morning, i did laundry, put new sheets on my bed, dusted my shelves and had a dance party because what else do you do when you clean?? and then-i got hungry. not really wanting to brave the sunday brunch hour, i decided to make something at home. so i pulled a cookbook off the bookshelf and made some chocolate chip banana bread. *warning* this banana bread is like crack, please bake responsibly-only if you are a strong and independent woman…i mean only if you are strong willed… yeah, will power.

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ingredients: 1 1/3 cups light brown sugar-2 eggs-1 cup mashed banana-2 1/4 cups flour-1 teaspoon baking powder-1 teaspoon baking soda-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon-1 teaspoon ground ginger-1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted-semi sweet chocolate chips-

ccbb-5ccbb-8ccbb-6preheat oven to 325ºf. put the sugar and eggs in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat until well incorporated. beat in the mashed banana.

add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger to the sugar mixture. mix it thoroughly until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated into the egg mixture. pour in the melted butter and beat until all the ingredients are well mixed.

pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth over with a palette knife. bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour or until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. let the cake cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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A SEDONA CHRISTMAS

dsc_0841i’m finally getting around to posting some bits and pieces of our christmas in sedona. we had a packed house of 9 people and 5 dogs and i wouldn’t have it any other way! our first order of business-grocery shopping. every year my sister cooks christmas eve dinner, christmas day breakfast and christmas day dinner, not to mention the goodies and desserts in between! she’s far too humble to say that she is good at cooking but she is and i’ll shout it from the rooftops if i have to-her cooking is my favorite part about the holidays. dsc_0350courtney needed all hands on deck in the kitchen but because of my notoriously bad cooking skills, i sat this one out and got a head start on the wine. my aunt and uncle live near the local winery so we picked up a bottle… or four.

dsc_0773christmas morning we woke up to a winter wonderland which made for an extra special holiday.

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dsc_0693homemade muffins, cinnamon rolls and chocolate chip bread thanks to chef courtney! dsc_0071dsc_0069

MUSIC MONDAY: LUCY ROSE

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in love with this gal. today she gave us a little taste of what to expect from her live at urchin studios album by releasing “for you”; the single off of the album. you can pre-order her album on itunes  or listen to the single on spotify as part of my music monday playlist. for this playlist i’ve put together some tunes that i’ve been listening to lately… some old some new some rock and some blues. happy monday!

 

SACKCLOTH & ASHES

 

21180019for every blanket you purchase, sackcloth & ashes will donate one to your local homeless shelter. living in los angeles, it’s hard not to notice how many people are left on the streets and sometimes we’re not really sure how to help but with sackcloth & ashes, they make it a little easier to lend a helping hand. you can buy your sackcloth & ashes blanket here.

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