inspire

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

THE PEOPLE. Hannah Efron

55490007hannah is one of my dearest friends so when i told her about this idea, i was so glad that she agreed to be a part of it. hannah and i first met through a mutual friend in high school but it wasn’t until after we graduated that we became close friends. hannah is an artist living with her fiancé in cortona, itlay. she graduated with a bfa in painting from biola university. when i went to see her work i fell in love, so much so that i bought one of her paintings. i found her life and artwork exciting and inspiring. i loved hearing her talk about it which is what led me to explore the idea of writing about it. i wanted to create a space to document honest portraits of people telling their stories; what they do, what inspires them, why they create. by starting this piece on the blog, i’ll be photographing and interviewing other creatives and posting under THE PEOPLE. whether you’re an artist, wood maker, cook, designer…whatever you may be, we want to hear your story. so without further ado, here is the first installment of THE PEOPLE. featuring the beautiful and talented hannah efron.

theblog: what has it been like adjusting to life in cortona?

hannah: “it has been tough but really beautiful. when i moved here last year i had a really hard time adjusting to everything. i missed my friends and family and the familiarity of my life in california…i still do, but i’ve adapted and i’m happy to call this place my home. i’m still here a year and a half later and i love it. i speak the language now and have integrated myself into the community. i have friends who i love dearly here and i have a boyfriend (now fiancé) who is the most interesting and loving person in the world. i’m convinced of it. bless his patient soul.”

“when i came back from the states after studying here i felt like california wasn’t the same to me as it had been before.”

theblog: what brought you to cortona and what made you want to stay?

hannah: “i studied art here about two years ago. it was a study abroad program with the university of georgia. it was the best. i fell in love with the culture and the language and the food, obviously. i also stumbled across a young chap who i fell in love with. when i came back to the states after studying here i felt like california wasn’t the same to me as it had been before. maybe because after you live on the other side of the world for a few months nothing feels the same. my life in california was lovely but it began to feel smaller and smaller in the sense that i knew the world was bigger. my relationship with my boyfriend continued long distance and one day i decided that i would move to itlay after i graduated and i did. and that was that.”

55490003theblog: everyone knows each other in that town, do you miss los angeles and how big it is?

hannah: “you know, it’s funny- when i first moved here i didn’t know anyone. i had a deep longing to build friendships and see familiar faces everyday. i wanted to be a part of the group of ladies that gossiped outside the grocery store every morning. i used to feel annoyed that everyone knew me only as the american. they would all speak to me in broken english and i would speak to them in broken italian, i guess we both wanted practice. over time it became a playful game and i feel like people were genuinely excited to see me so they could practice their english. in LA i always wanted to slide under the radar. i wanted to quickly grab my whiskey at the bar and sit down with people i knew and people i could have familiar conversation with. because cortona is such a small town, after a little over a year the people here feel familiar to me. i like that. all that to say i do enjoy leaving my house and saying hello to everyone i pass.”

55490001theblog: where is your favorite place to go in cortona-your happy place?

hannah:”this gelato place called snoopy’s. that’s where i feel most happy. all jokes aside…kind of… my favorite place to go is to the top of the town where you can look over the entire valley. i don’t know why i like it, i just do. it makes me feel good.”

theblog: when did painting start for you?

hannah: “i don’t recall a specific time when painting started for me. when i was a kid it was my favorite thing to do. i am and always have been introverted and it was something i could do by myself. i liked making stuff and i’ve always liked the feeling of pushing paint around.”

“painting has always meant discovery to me. it’s always been very natural. it’s my quiet place.”

theblog: what inspires you?

hannah: “people say i’m often distracted but i’m usually just overly intrigued by something around me, so yeah i guess that is distraction but average things inspire me. it’s a puzzle translating things i see and hear into abstractions and i like that. puzzles are fun”

theblog: are you inspired differently in italy than you are in california?

hannah: i am but i’m not. colors and shapes in my paintings have become more subtle but they always seem to be as they’re supposed to. i’ve always seen my paintings as recordings in my life. it’s pretty simple actually. if i see something i like, i paint it. different seasons in my life are very obvious to me when i look at my work.”

hannah-13

 

BELLERBY & CO.

for peter bellerby, it all began while he was searching for his father’s 80th birthday present. while having no luck on finding the perfect globe, he decided to make his own instead. a year later, peter created bellerby & co. now with a small team of trained globemakers, they are creating high quality and hand made globes. be sure to watch the amazing video below to see how it’s all done.

photos by jake curtis