Friday, December 26, 2014

The Great Laundromat Adventure


The greatest of the greatest! One of my most favoritest of all places in which my soul feels a different kind of peace at, is the Laundromat. A rare breed of sorts, Laundromats make me feel at home. Sprung up around town, mostly around the inner city areas, they fill the gaping hole that was left by my inner childhood pastimes. My childhood was FILLED with trips to the lavanderia. I remember each one visited exactly. The curved seats next to the window, the smell of fabric softner looming in the air, the way that those carts moved so effortlessly throughout the narrow hallways. It was all so magical. So now, that my new home (a quaint studio of sorts) is lacking in this department I am forced to once again visit my long lost love in all its glory.
 
 
 

 
Is it just me who gets off on old laundry equipment and vintage signs hung up outside? It's like the world could be spinning a thousand miles a second and the minute you set foot into a Laundromat life once again slows down to its usual pace. Because it doesn't matter how many iPhones are out, how fast online shipping has gotten, or the fact that we are at the brink of 2015, the feels of Laundromat seem to stay the same. Whether the remembrance is that of the 70's, 80's, 90's, or later, that nostalgic feeling of coins and communal TV channels doesn't fade. 


So I hope to visit as many Laundromats as I can starting from this point. Each one of them with their quirks and funny change machines. & let me tell you, I couldn't be any happier!
 
Stef

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Forgotten



Sometimes you forget about those things that make you happy.
Those small little moments or places or mannerisms that fill your heart.
But every once in a while, you remember...and all of a sudden, you're filled with all kinds of good feels.
I forgot what it was like to appreciate the morning chill upon the warmth of my skin.
I had forgotten the happiness that cascades upon me the second I light a candle.
I had forgotten the way the wooden paintbrush feels between my fingers.
I had forgotten the way each fruit so delicately ripens to perfection just so I can eat it.
I had forgotten how the best memories form out of spontaneity and crazy ideas.
I had forgotten how the love we had was there all along.
I had forgotten the joy that solo grocery shopping brings me, especially at Trader Joe's.
I had forgotten the beauty that exists within the carefully curated leaves that fall upon my balcony.
I had forgotten the power and splendor that lays upon direct human eye contact.
I  had forgotten how whole I feel when I write.
I had forgotten the glee it brings me when I have lunch outside in the atmosphere.
I had forgotten how much I love the park and the people I see in it.
I had forgotten how amazing and truly extraordinary I am.

& when I realized all these things, I realized it's ALL in the small things.
The small things make the big things. Life is the small things. The things that truly matter. Life is exciting when I slow down and appreciate those small things. & man, am I happy.

I am so happy.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Late Night Rambles

 
 
Late night ramble post! Yayyyy! It's been a while since I've done one of those, at least I feel like it has been. So if you don't know how these work, I literally type whatever comes to my mind without really caring if I make sense. Now, that sounds like most of my rambles on here (with the exception of the sometimes well thought out post) so no judgment on punctuation, grammar, or common sense for that matter allowed here. I'm currently sitting at a Starbucks and its 1:17 AM. Thank the Heavens for 24 hour coffeeshops, seriously. Especially when homegirl ain't got no internet and there were papers on the line that needed to be submitted. Life officially saved. You know what else has saved me today? Everything. Literally. Today was a damn good day.
 
I finished volunteering/staffing for a personal development training that started since Thursday. Man was that an experience. Spending time with these people over the course of 4 days, equating to almost 50 hours is pretty intense and amazing. To see them grow in such a short amount of time and to see how their expressions radically turn by Sunday afternoon. The satisfaction of having someone come up to you and tell you how thankful they are to you for being there for them and supporting them through this short but life changing process is pretty awesome. amazing. crazy. wonderful.
 
Then after that some friends called me up and we went on some photographic journeys together. We had some challenges we had to do and got my creative juices going. We ended up spending the whole afternoon together, walking through The Strip, eatin fro-yo, taking pictures, and talking about how rad the violin sounds live.
 
& that leads me to here. Now I sit here at Starbucks after being forced to come here for the lack of internet at my house. I had some papers that were due and that needed to be submitted by 11:59...The enviornmnt here actually forced me to work and get some stuff done. It's nice. I'm seriously considering not paying for internet anymore. I mean, I could just come here, its not far and the enviorment is chill. Why do I keep spelling environment wrong? But I didn't this last time so what the heck! Im listening to The Smiths station on Pandora and holy hell is this a good station. Seriously, how in the world did I forget how ridiciloulsy awesome The Cure and Depeche Mode are?! I also had a chai latte...but not the regular chai latte...the OPRAH CHAI LATTE! Damn you Oprah. Why is it 35 cents more expensive? It's that Oprah touch man. The markups get crazy when she's involved. but I don't mind. She introduced me to Dr. Oz, Williams & Sonoma, Teavana, and Tom Cruise making a fool of himself, what more could I ask for? Theyre putting chairs up... the lady that works here at starbucks is putting chairs up, does that mean she wants us to leave? but that cant happen, cause this place is 24 hours, why would she put the chair up? it's useless, oohh. wait.........shes mopping. I guess that makes sense, I mean she needs the space to mop and even the best of 24 hour places need mopping. Guess that life. & that's okay. Kids, even the best of us need a mopping every once in a while. Cause it's impossible for specks of dirt to keep their distance when we seem so appealing to the soles of feet.
 
Damn. The Clash. Never heard them. I know...I know. What the hell. But seriously. Theyre freaking awesome. Rock the Casbah. Well don't mind if I do.....Currently rocking the casbah....
I always wanted to work at SB. (that's short for starbucks, cause my generation, which includes me, that's why it's mine is so lazy to spell a 9 letter word) They never called me back. I should try it again. I don't care about pay....or status. I just want to work here. Make some coffee and make some people happy. Its on my bucket list, I should get going. I want a green apron. & Oprah Chai Lattes at my disposal.
 
Alright I should probably go. I'm pretty tired and Tears For Fears is really getting to me. In a good way. Damn you 80's music! Why you so good and bad at the same time?! Some of your stuff is really bad...then you hit me with this Pandora station and i'm all good feely now. You're awesome Pandora. NO, this isint an advertisement to Pandora. They should pay me though. For me to mention them so many times they should. I accept payments in donuts. Especially those whipped cream filled Krispy Kremes.... they sooooo good! Alright im leaving im tired and sleepy. NO work tomorrow! Yessss! Life is so good.
 
Oh yeah, and these pictures I took today. My photog friends are so awesome. I love that I can be a complete idiot around them when taking pictures and they totally understand and will act a fool with me just for the sake of capturing a good shot. We layed on concrete, trespassed forbidden foliage, and created angles with our bodies that were unknown to man before today.
 
& it was normal.
 
 
That's what lifes about my friends. Finding people you can act a fool with and it feel normal.
 


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sunset Rain


August 18th. Oh how this day will be forever engrained in my mind as the day it all finally clicked and made sense. It was a rather monumental day of sorts for me. Full of realizations, ironic feels, and hard truths that I have managed to run away from for quite some time. It's like all those pesky circumstances called in a conference meeting and decided that August 18th was going to be the day they finally all show up at my doorstep and present themselves in the hard reality that they are. "Why show up one at a time, when we can soften the blow by bringing it in all at once?" they must have discussed. & so they knocked...at different times, but within hours of each other they knocked. It was refreshing, as I haven't experienced harsh reality in a while (since I am usually a very happy and content person anyways). Harsh reality is best served when you least expect it, it tends to have more of a chilling effect. Your senses numbed to what the events but completely aware of the icy feel that runs through the skin.

What are these harsh realities you ask? Maybe I've been na├»ve to ever realize them, since the optimist in me usually conquers any feelings of wrong doing. Giving the benefit of the doubt to people who really don't need it because they have been clear in their message.

I realized that just because I care and love someone, it doesn't mean they'll care and love me back.

I was reminded that things change, circumstances morph, and things are ultimately always temporary. The person you thought you might have known at one time may not be the same person you now see or talk to. For better or worse, people change and it's okay if they don't want you in their life anymore, as a friend, companion, or anything else. IT'S OKAY.

I realized people can be mean and people can and will hurt me. Intentionally or not.

These people do not care about you, these people do not have your best intentions in mind. People who love and care about you will hurt you but with love. They will guide you gently towards what you need to hear and not what you want to hear, with undeniable love. They might cause pain but it will be because they are cleansing your wounds, pouring alcohol and mending it to heal. They will never be the cause of a wound, slashing, or pain.

I realized I don't have to be mean to people who have hurt me.

It's human nature, revenge and vengeance is what we want to do when people hurt us. Someone exposes us to pain and our immediate response is to reciprocate the pain so they can feel what we feel. I've realized that this doesn't solve anything and it actually causes you to stumble as a person. Bringing that negativity to your life and those feelings only hinder you as a human being. I was reminded that hurt people, hurt people and that it sometimes has nothing to do with you, so there is no point in causing them pain. It only reflects who you are as a person and I choose to be a person who forgives, lets go, and isn't stuck on the behaviors of others.

I realized that I sometimes hurt people.

& because of this, I should focus on this instead of the things people have done to me. I know the pain of a wound and the last thing I want to do is be the cause of that same pain to somebody else. Sometimes we have to do what we need to do and in the process we hurt people without even realizing it. If these relationships really mean something to me it is in my power to try and mend them.

I realized that it's okay to back away.

Not everyone is meant to be in your life. Not everyone is going to stay there forever. Be grateful, appreciative, and keep the good memories with you, for at that time they were beautiful in their state.

I realized there is so much beauty around me and I am in charge of what I focus on.

So here's a story...the story of that picture right up there. I was driving and the weather straight ahead of me was dark, gloomy, and gray. A thunderstorm was rolling in and boy was it a mean one. I was driving, dreading the possible rain that might come in since I was not home and my window currently doesn't roll up (you can imagine the problems). I kept driving, feeling a little down and then it happened. I looked over to the left and the most carefully painted, watercolored sunset was setting right before me. Hues of blue and purple, mixed with tinges of pink and orange, it was truly spectacular. Everything intertwined so effortlessly, the sun; a fiery ball of red hiding behind the cotton candy-like clouds. Rays of light peeked through the gloom and touched the face of the mountains below. It was stunning. So stunning that I snapped a picture as I was driving (reason why it's so blurry) because I didn't want to miss it. To be honest, the picture doesn't even do it's justice. It was one of the most amazing sunsets I had seen in a very long time...all while a thunderstorm and gray gloomy clouds rolled up in front of me. I decided to drive towards the sunset, changing my route and my scenery. I no longer saw the gray, I no longer saw the thunderstorms, and even though I knew they were there, I chose to focus on the stunning sunset that was setting before my eyes. Because how could I focus on the gray when this magical work of art was being created right in front of me? How could I not change my focus, my direction, my energy? It would be foolish not to do so.

& then I realized. How could I not focus on all the beauty that is around me? On all the people that I so desperately love and who loved me back? My mother, siblings, family, friends, coworkers, etc. All the amazing opportunities that are before me? It's all a majestic sunset and its setting before me. I choose to focus on the watercolored beauty that is around me instead of focusing on the gloom that is in front of me. Cause sometimes we're not always meant to go straight ahead. Sometimes we have to deviate and look to where we see the color, even if it's not where we had intended in going. <3 Look to the sunset, because it would be foolish not do so.

Stef

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Shake Story





This is what happens when my mom leaves me the Nutrition Club all to myself. Herbalife Shake Magic...yassssss!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Redeveloping the Greyfield Land

A journal, a park, & some good melancholic music. All I'll ever need.

As it shows, my devotion to this space as a personal blog has fallen a little by the wayside, only writing every once in a full moon (literally. did you see that thing last night!?). My lack of interest for expressing my personal thoughts on here has not been because I have let go of writing itself, but rather have been enjoying keeping it within the confinement of my journal instead. I've always been a believer of writing in a notebook, lately however, I've been carrying it with me everywhere I go in case a spur of the moment idea or thought decides to stop by. This has been therapeutic for me, allowing me to release all of my emotions on paper, instead of contemplating them with aimless car rides and melancholic music. Although, releasing all those emotions serves really good at the gym, especially when those emotions are of anger or motivation. Today I decided to take a trip to the park during my lunch break, to get some inspiration from mother nature herself. I placed down my yoga mat in the perfect spot (always carry your yoga mat in your car guys! They serve good as blankets in lieu of one) and let nature take its course on me. It's truly magical what being outdoors can do to you while trying to write. The air fills my lungs with gratitude for what no man can create and the sun produces in me happy balanced feels of all kinds. I usually don't have anything in mind when I decide to take some time to fully focus on scribbling in my yellow Moleskine, but the minute I let my mind pause itself and take a few deep breathes, all the melancholic, happy, bittersweet, amazing thoughts rush in. Things/instances/stories that have been on my mind lately....

The Kite Story
I have a kite. I never owned a kite as a child and flew it for the first time in April. This kite that I have has a deep emotional significance to me and I always carry it in the trunk of my car in case the weather seems dandy and I feel inspired to take it out. On my way to the park, I got the urge and decided that I was going to fly it since the day was nice and although gloomy in a sense, it wasn't that bad. Once I got out of my car I realized that there was no significant wind blowing, adding some challenge to the deed. I figured I would have to work double to get it to go and for it to stay up, so my eagerness to fly it started to decrease significantly. Then I started to think...hey! that's a lot like life. A lot like what I am facing right this moment, right this season.

There is no freaking wind. Not a breeze can be felt.

& then it hit me....It shouldn't matter. That shouldn't stop me from wanting to do what I want to do. Life won't always have a nice breeze to coast me along. Sometimes the air will be completely paralyzed and I will have to learn to jumpstart my kite regardless. Running faster, harder, more determined. It was such an 'aha' moment for me. So what did I do? I ran my ass and flew my kite....and boy was it glorious.

Learning to Appreciate Experiences
Alright, so I'm 22. Right at that age when you start to contemplate adult decisions and situations with a mentality that is still outgrowing itself from years of rebellion and confusion. I know, lucky me. However, considering this, I am learning to appreciate my experiences, good AND bad, am finally realizing that it is these experiences that make me who I am. I've decided to be grateful, to be happy, and to take a learning caption out of everything, no matter how painful it might have been.
 
Detaching People From Songs
So we are all guilty of this. Associating people, feelings, situations, or places to songs that we listen to, regardless of what we feel. I mean it's almost impossible not to ingrain something while listening to a tune of some sorts. For example, Lana Del Rey reminds me of my old house and driving a blue mustang, whenever I hear Robbie Williams' "Tripping" I think of brother, and I can't help but feel sad when hearing a certain Interpol song. I usually have no issues with this, since it's a part of the magic that comes with music itself, being able to bring memories back with the hear of single note. But what happens when music you love, long before, has latched on itself to a painful or heart wrenching situation? Frustration. Lots of it.
 
I absolutely love this band. Not a superfan by any means, but discovering this band has been revolutionary to my music world. Reminding me of feelings of carefree times and rebellious days. However, it wasn't until a recent someone (that I grew very close to) showed me their intense love for this band, that I gained a new appreciating for their music and their sound as a whole. He transformed the way I listened to them and the way I deconstructed their lyrics and meanings. This in turn, caused me to create a heavy (HEAVY) association between the band and him. Since our friendship dwindled and I was left with great feelings of sadness and ambivalence, I stopped listening to them ever since since bringing back those feelings of bittersweet nostalgia didn't do me any good.
 
With that backstory laid out, you can assume what I started to feel when I heard the news that they would be coming to town. I couldn't resist buying tickets even though I had just seen them perform not that long ago, not really caring for the fact that I couldn't even hear this band without breaking into deep melancholy. Although I'm still working on these feelings, I'm pretty set on unfastening any kind of emotional connection I might have and going back to loving their music for being so.
Taking things slow
I'm appreciating the slow pace of things, ya know? Cause I mean, why rush? Things will eventually take its course no matter the speed and will fall into place at their time. Yes, there is the impatient clock ticking and yes, we should take full advantage of it. But sometimes it's okay to stroll and enjoy the walk instead of sprinting to the destination. 

 Revenge
I finished all 3 seasons in less than a month. What the fuck is wrong with me? Was it the fact that Aiden was just too darn sexy? Or Nolan's witty lines that kept me hooked? Either way, I'm now waiting till it actually comes back on TV to see where the crazy story line goes next...which reminds me, is Scandal back on?!
 
On Rebuilding...A Self Discovery Project
I have been working on something for the last week or so and I'm pretty excited about it and can't wait till it's completed to show you all. Going back to my roots, my essence, and being are all what it's about. I'll have a whole post about it soon, but will leave you with this. At one point or another, due to life situations, circumstances, or lack of; we become greyfield land. Not always a temporary state of being, but nonetheless, we sometimes end up in it. The things is, even though it might not seem like it, being or feeling like a greyfield land is more than despair and lost hope. It is a canvas, an opportunity, a place to rebuild. Here's a definition of what a greyfield land is, straight from a construction website. The metaphor in it is so magical that it speaks for itself.
 
"Greyfield land is real estate or land which is underutilized, typically producing far less revenue than it would if properly managed. It can take a variety of forms. Often, it includes buildings which are obsolete or poorly maintained. While the real estate might have once well well-utilized, over time the land has been allowed to depreciate; the buildings may be poorly maintained, tenant turnover rates may go up, and the infrastructure of the site may be allowed to decay.
 
If you're feeling like a GF (as I am right now), remember this...
 
Developers often see greyfield land as an opportunity. In the right hands, such land could potentially become very profitable if taken over."

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Taxco, Guerrero

 Oh Taxco
 
You beautiful little town, that is majestically clustered on top of mountains of greens. You identify your spirit in your imperfect yet ideal quaint architecture and promote intimacy with your corridor streets. Known for your silver, you feel abused at times, as the "gringos" often enter you without a real sense of acquaintance. But generic you are not, because even though the tourists invade you, you refuse to let yourself be tainted by what they bring.
 
Your people are gentle, they've gotten used to the bustle...they realize it's all part of the scene. Although walls they have built up, they are easily torn down with a genuine smile and sense of kindness. With a real longing to get to know who they are.
 
Your artisans are one of a kind, their hands dancing masterfully upon clay pots and wooden bowls, grasping paintbrushes and creating strokes. Your silversmiths so passionately conceiving pieces of jewelry that represent your quintessential self.
 
Oh Taxco, how much I adore you. Thank you for embracing me with open arms and for letting me capture you with the beauty of a lens.
 
I blogged about Taxco a year ago and without knowing captured the same picture I featured.