Turning 25, Travel, and other things.

art, blog, food, love, personal, photography, Uncategorized

 September 16 marked my 25th year on this beautiful planet. I’m probably one of the few who sees getting older as a huge blessing and proof of favor of the universe. Dirty 30 is around the 5 year corner and I do hope I see it. I will make it beautiful. Along with 25, a few other changes took place at the same time. I quit my job as a pastry cook…kind of. I’m still freelancing with the company. I jumped head first into my photography, networked, met a lot of really cool people and yes, my relationship of a year and a few months ended on good terms.

Where I will be living is now up in the air and a steady source of income has yet to be found. Am I scared? No. I am doing ok. Thing’s always work out.

imageAbove is a shot of my birthday drink that was recently introduced to the SkyCity menu for the fall season called the Autumn blossom. Very citrus-y and kind of tart and strong. It was ok, I finished it. Eating at the Space Needle was the most perfect birthday gift I could’ve given myself and it was nice to cross an event off of my bucket list at 25. Although the food itself was less than stellar and way overpriced, the experience alone was worth every penny. I just wished I would’ve stayed for dessert. I ordered the crab cakes as my appetizer which were awesome and the Seafood Boulliabaise as my entree. I’m sure if the flavor of my meal was better, I would have ordered dessert but since it wasn’t, I saw dessert as a waste of $20 or $30 more dollars.

 

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When I travel, I prefer to do as the locals do. It’s a great way to save money and get the full experience of the city. Not to mention, meet cool and sometimes strange people. I took the train everyday on a $5.50 day pass, got off and on as often as I wanted and walked everywhere with my handy gps for back up taking amazing shots of the city. I found amazing hole in the wall restaurants, had random adventures getting lost, and met and ate with the locals.

And of course a city isn’t a city without it’s street performers to bring it to life. So many talented musicians and singers on Pine street, 5th avenue and other pieces of Downtown Seattle playing for coins and smiles. Some to pay the bills and others to fund their treks around the globe. I spotted a kilted bag pipe player playing songs to fund his trip to Brazil.

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The street art of Seattle added to the entire experience. Here’s a quick glimpse of one of the many pieces I Loved.

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City travel isn’t city travel for a a photo girl like me without capturing a light trail or several. Here’s a shot on East Pine Street overpass after eating the best mexican food of my life over at Fogan’s Cocina Mexicana… When in Seattle, go to East Pine Street and eat there. Trust me. Order the Tortilla Soup. It is the best I’ve EVER had. And yes I live in California.

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And here’s me on the first day of age 25. Quick tip, avoid a section of China Town near Jefferson street… unless you love Crack and Heroine culture.

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The Importance of YOU.

blog, food, love, personal, Uncategorized

imageEven at age 24 (yes, 25 come September) I still meet a ton of my female peers who find the way I live my life rather odd.

And in the same ways… I find the way they live their lives, or DON’T live their lives rather strange as well.

Many women I’ve met around my age range find it strange when in conversations I bring up trips I’ve taken, places I’ve eaten, concerts I’ve gone too, or movies I’ve seen. Naturally, I’m almost always asked, “Well… who did you go with?”

97% Of the time my response is a very slow…. no one? or… by…myself?

Responses that are generally met with gasps or sorrowful looks or , “….really? I could NEVER go by myself.”

Recent conversations with my coworkers after I went to this amazing Foreign Exchange concert (by myself, of course) struck me. I was so excited about it still and telling them how much fun I had and once I answered the question of who I went with I got this:

*gasp* you went alone?!”

“Your boyfriend let you go alone? He was okay with that?”

In my world and way of thinking I didn’t understand why it was such a shock or what boyfriends had to do with anything. Yes,I went alone! it was a $20 concert to see one of my favorite bands of all time! spur of the moment, people had to work, it was my day off. OF COURSE I WENT ALONE! I don’t believe in missing out on things just because I don’t have company. And I honestly thought that that was the way everybody lived. Mainly because on my solo travels, concert missions, movies, and restaurant experiences I see and meet so many other people who are out alone that I just assumed it was a normal thing to do.

Which it is right? What is normal anyway?

Well, to my peers, normal is to always go out with company. And if no one is available or interested in the things they want to do, they just stay home instead and miss out.

I truly don’t believe in this. In my opinion I think you can miss out on a lot of what life has to offer by allowing the time constraints and interests of other people to dictate the adventures you go on  and activities you participate in. Going out alone, be it traveling or just to dinner can be very rewarding and fulfilling. You can meet so many other people, you become more approachable to others who would have never seen or thought of approaching you had you been out with your usual group of rowdy friends. With this approachability you now have by going alone, it opens you up to new friends with the same interests, networking opportunities that can possibly lead you right on out of the slump you’ve been in and a new found sense of TRUE independence.

Can someone who pays all of their bills on their own truly be independent if they can’t even muster up the courage to take themselves to lunch and a movie? Not going through a drive through and hitting up redbox or Netflix but going to a restaurant, sitting down, eating, leaving a tip and then going to a theater.

Going shopping, getting your nails done, taking a trip, whatever it is one usually does with a companion, shouldn’t one be able to do it alone?

I took myself out to lunch today. I try to go for sushi or Thai food once a week on my days off because I find it important to do something for myself that I love. I believe in treating myself on a regular basis, enjoying some sunshine, fresh air, and meditation. It doesn’t have to be lunch and a movie. It can be something as simple as a 14 mile bike ride through the trails, a photo walk or a trip to the pool or river for a swim. It’s a way for me to stay grounded in who I am without the constant influence of other people’s energies. I don’t have to compromise what I want to do for someone else, I don’t have to change my plans unless I choose to. i can go exactly when I like and leave when I like. I can take my time, be alone with my thoughts and possibly open more doors to meet new people.

My peers say I’m courageous, or independent or brave but I’ve never seen myself as any of those things. I just see myself as normal. A normal young woman who wants to do what she wants when she wants. I know tomorrow is never promised. The next hour isn’t promised and I simply can’t fathom putting my life off for the sake of waiting for other people.

Spend time with YOURSELF. Don’t miss out on life because no one is around to accompany you. Because chances are, whether you are around or not, those people aren’t putting their lives on hold either.

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A Picture Perfect Night

blog, personal, photography

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Last night was an amazing experience. A group of photographers here in Sacramento put on a free lighting workshop and my mentor was one of the hosts so naturally, I was invited to take part. A few hours before Showtime I simply was not in the proper frame of mind to do anything. Thoughts swirling of how I’ll make money after quitting my job, what I’ll do next, and lacking confidence believing I was not good enough to become the photographer I want to become.

Was I making a huge mistake?

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Needless to say, I went anyway. If nothing else, I would at least be distracted from my own negativity and will have the opportunity to practice, gain more mentoring and networking opportunities. Im all too glad I pushed myself to take this step.

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Here is my favorite shot from last night with Model Alexis Pinkney. She was absolutely brilliant. I couldn’t have picked a better person to be my very first model to shoot.

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After the shoot, I came home to see a lot of the event’s attendees posting their favorite shots of the night and by then, my confidence waned again. Jeez, I have no photo editing software, I obviously didnt use the same settings as these guys. Was I doing it wrong? What if I post and the model hates it and asks me to take them down. My style is so different from everyone else, what if no one likes it? What if no one gets me?

After worrying more, getting the shakes, I literally went and transfered the images to my phone since that was the only way I had to edit photos and adjust the levels that needed adjusting. After a swift kick in the ass by my boyfriend who said, “Shut up and just post them!” … I shut up and posted them. Hoped for the best.

Bam! More opportunities opened up. The response was overwhelming by the model, her family, my mentor and the photo group. I got so overwhelmed and my heart fluttered. The models mother messaged me offering more opportunities and told me much she was blown away that I had captured Alexis the way SHE actually sees her.

I couldn’t believe it.

I began to think, at 2am while I was running around jumping for joy at all the response, that What if i hadn’t taken the plunge? What if I hadn’t saved up and shelled out $1200 on equipment? What if I had listened to my negativity and turned down the opportunity to be mentored? Turned down the opportunity to participate in last nights workshops while I layed around trying to sort through my swirling thoughts?

None of this would have happened. No new doors would have opened, I would have learned nothing new. And I never would have known I could affect people this way at such an amateur level.

I can’t wait to see how much further I can go. How much better I can get. I have no doubt that Ive made the right decision.

You have Brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

blog, personal, Uncategorized

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(photo taken Downtown Sacramento Wells Fargo Pavillion)

It became clear to me months ago that the job I was in simply was not the job for me.

I had nothing against the company, I just felt that it wasn’t a good fit for me in particular and that I will have to find a different path eventually. As in Soon.

For the sake of my team I made the decision to tough it out a little longer because in the restaurant industry, when one person is absent or when a new person is brought in, lots can go wrong. There is a ton of mistakes that happen, a lot of baby sitting that has to go down in order to insure quality, and a lot of slack that has to be picked up by the more seasoned workers. In short, Everybody feels the absence and change.

Earlier in the year, my supervisor left. I was the newbie at the time causing all of the stress. Then suddenly we had a new person newer than me that I had to help train and look over so one week I was the newbie causing stress and the next week I was supervising a newbie and picking up a ton of slack so I got both ends. Hence my decision to stay when I didn’t feel that it was right for ME but was right and helpful to everyone else.

However, here comes the universe forcing me out.

Sticking to my guns and my commitments to stay until the end of the year, I had no intentions of quitting until then even though it was affecting all aspects of my life in a negative way from my health and stress level to my personal relationships. But then last night the universe throws me a curve ball and in comes my lovely boss (best boss I ever had may I add) and she pulls me to the side to ask me if  I was still happy with my position. Instead of lying for the sake of my team, I decided to tell the truth for myself. And…

she understood. She quit my job/graveyard hours for the exact same reasons.

I expected some anxiety or panic to come from within me, but nothing came.

I felt that I was in alignment and that everything that was meant for me was being born out of this one step. And me thinking that I knew what was best for myself and others was simply not what the universe had in store. I felt no fear, no panic, no anxiety, no regret, no racing thoughts.

If anything, all of those symptoms vanished after our meeting.

I felt relaxed.

Even though I don’t know what is next for me, I know something good will come out of this. It always has.

This isn’t the first job I’ve had, the first I’ve quit or the first I’ve “lost”. And here I am, still standing and thriving and growing.

I haven’t been actively looking for another position with another restaurant because I don’t feel as if changing companies is what is going to make my feelings go away. Restaurants are restaurants. Being a chef is being a chef no matter where you go it is likely to be all the same. New learning experiences, yes, but the company you work for does not determine one’s stress level. It simply comes with the profession itself.

So for now, I was offered the opportunity to more or less freelance with the company, staying on call throughout the holidays and an ad is being put out to fill my current full time position. I’ll be staying on full time until a newbie is brought in and trained, and since I mentioned I am looking to grow further than my current position will take me, she offered to consider me for any future openings that will allow me to learn more.

I’m excited to finally have balance again. To be able to look at my life with clear vision. To  have the time to invest in my hobbies, passions, and the people I care about. To not have to turn everyone and every opportunity down because of work or because I need to sleep before work.

I don’t know where this road will take me next, but I find solace in knowing that I am on the right one.

Taking Hold of a Love of My Own.

art, blog, love, personal, photography, Uncategorized

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This day was truly amazing.

Once you find a group of like-minded people, it seems as if everything you’ve always wanted your world to be has finally, out of the blue, become.

Finally, here were people who saw the world in many of the same ways I did. Finally people with the same vision and purpose. Finally, people out to inspire themselves and others. People who wanted to open the world up to people who could not or would not open it up for themselves. Like minded photographers who didn’t mind, and actually enjoyed, talking 8 hours to get from Old Sacramento to Downtown sacramento which is truly only a 5 mile walk or less. Stopping at every sight, halting for each other, sharing in each others vision. Taking our time. No, we weren’t in a hurry. We were doing exactly what we set out to do and time was not a factor. This is life for us. This is what we want to spend our time doing more than anything.

That slow 8 hour 5 mile walk was full of inspiration and every moment we paused in time was destined to create inspiration within others and to possibly even uplift ourselves.

This photography walk with my amazing mentor (Van Halen up there) and other members of the Sacramento photo community really solidified what I believe to be my life’s  purpose. This is what I have been craving for quite a while and despite never being able to afford the equipment that I needed to make my dreams a reality, I never gave up studying and shooting on my own with whatever I had.

my first camera was a tiny little blue keychain camera, super cheap, that looked like a toy (and probably was). I received it for I think Christmas one year as a child when I was bugging my mother for a digital camera. Naturally that went no where. I don’t even believe it was possible to retrieve photos from the camera or if it was actually even snapping shots but it didn’t keep me from pressing the click button whenever I found something amazing to show the world.

From there i went to numerous cameras. Disposable cameras, Kodak EasyShare, Sony point and shoot, cell phones, and a cheapo bridge camera that I vowed would be the last piece of shit device I would spend money on. I would buy what I wanted to really enhance and show what I wanted to show.

Even though the best camera a photographer can have is the one that is readily available, I also knew that in order to truly get what I meant to capture in the way I wanted it to be captured, I had to make the investment. And once that investment was made, my entire world opened up and I was welcomed with open arms to the best community a photo girl could ask for.

The photo walk showed me that if I had my way and if the world was perfect, this is all I would be doing. This is all I WANT to do. To open the world up to others, inspire, express myself through my own art and to capture seemingly ordinary moments and mix them with magic to tell a story without words. To make a positive impact on both myself and others.

This is what I have been in love with for my entire life.

Manifest Slowly

art, blog, culinary, food, personal, photography

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This week I had a ton on my plate including my usual graveyard work schedule, a last minute Mickey Mouse specialty cake (I’ve never done a specialty cake before so that required a ton of research) and my first meeting with my photography mentor and photo group which was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! 

A dream come true actually.

It is Friday, which is my Monday and honestly, I haven’t had a true day or night off this week. Yes I am stressed, and per day I’ve been running off of  4 hours of sleep to complete 13 hour days to get everything done. The feeling of accomplishment, however hasn’t exactly turned out to be satisfying. I still feel extremely stressed out and sleep deprived. Stress has been turning my dreams into nightmarish circus rides that leaves me waking up abruptly in tears and cold sweats. Safe to say I need to find a legit way to maintain my stress level.

Everything this week work wise has been great.

Sometimes I forget my own talents when I am focused on my stress and negative perceptions of myself. I don’t think other people realize how much their “likes” and words of praise and encouragement means to others. Sometimes that “omg that”s amazing” is all I really need to keep going because often times before I hear that I am seriously doubting myself and getting caught up in my own feelings about what I could have done to make my projects better.

The photos shown are just a small snippet of my first experience with a macro lens. My photo group was so great at mentoring and teaching me the ins and outs of my camera and they had plenty of lenses and equipment I hadn’t previously heard of that they allowed me to play with. This macro lens significantly increased the effect of flower shots. I created a morning macro series for my personal instagram because looking at these photos truly brightens my own mood everyday and I feel it is up to me to share it with others who may also be feeling down.

At the end of an 8 hour day of shooting, we all sat down to dinner at an amazing Thai restaurant in downtown Sacramento called Ma Jongs. At the end of the meal, a member of the group passed around fortune cookies and we took turns reading them aloud.

Mine said, “You are doing well in your business.”

I quickly chucked it to the side as trash . I don’t have my own business, so obviously at the time I had nothing to relate it to. One of the O.G mentors told me sometimes fortune cookies are simply good for wisdom only and not exactly telling you your future which is usually how I look at them anyway but…. business?

Then today I realized that, hey. I am doing well in my business.

This week has been hell. No sleep, lots of side projects, stress and changes at my job, research, and investing every penny and ounce of time I had to spare into climbing the necessary steps I have to take to reach my ultimate goal : to work for myself.

Sure I have not reached that goal yet and I am probably quite a ways away but I am indeed doing well when it comes to accomplishing it. I’ve been planting seeds, investing in myself, getting up and DOING as opposed to sitting on my ass THINKING about it and dreaming. All of the ups and downs, successes and failures, losses and gains, tears and smiles, racing thoughts and organizing can only be just a glimpse into what it really takes to be a one woman army.

I’ve learned where my passion truly lies. Within all of these projects I’ve learned what makes me happy and what doesn’t and what types of things I really DON’T want to do or deal with even if I am good at it.

And it’s simply put that I have to go through all of this to prepare myself for all that I’ve been asking for in my life. You can’t get to number 10 without going through steps 1-9.

And the fact of the matter is, I DID IT! on my own.

Yes, I stuck to my guns. I planted those seeds. I bit off more than I could possibly chew but I made it all happen. I didn’t back down from ANYTHING I committed to. I learned and accomplished so much more within these last few days than I have in any classroom anywhere and I shocked myself.

That was all I needed.

A 3 year Dream Manifested

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For 3 years this has lingered on my wishlist. In 2011 when it was almost $1000 i could not afford it. This year i saved and saved and saved some more with this in mind. On monday I shelled out close to 1,000 on my canon, plus lenses and other equipment and was so completely happy.

It came today on thursday at 4pm. After waiting around the house all day so i wouldn’t miss it (it required a signature), i decided to take a quick shower. Its very hot here in northern califirnia so naturally I was sweaty and gross.

And surprise, while i was wet and naked the ups man finally decided to show up. Hearing my dog bark, i hopped out the shower, threw some clothes on while still wet and ended up chasing him down the street. Luckily he was still on foot.

But, I recieved my dream today. Opened up the box with my heart all aflutter and began dancing around the house.

Now as the universe conspires to give me all of my desires, i was put into contact with a mentor the day i ordered my camera (literally right after) and he contacted me today before the delivery and taught me alot and is just as excited as i am although he is way pro and is making a living as a freelancer. We r going shooting next Wednesday and words cant described how pumped up i am that everything is happening so fast.

Put out there the things you want and do it. Dream and do and youll never believe the things that will start falling into place. Take the plunge! With me being completely unhappy at my job and literally on the verge of leaving, i made this investment a priority. No, not putting it off any longer. I may hate my job, but im still a dreamer. When i leave my job, I wont be able to afford the investment in new ventures. The time was NOW. It always is.

After all, if a person wont take the time and resources to invest in themselves, how can one expect anyone else to?

Take as many steps as you can on your own and the rest will fall into place. Nothing happens over night.

The Foreign Exchange Live in Sacramento!

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I went on a solo concert mission to downtown Sacramento to see one of my all time favorite bands The Foreign exchange.

A friend I had known online for years gave me a heads up about it as she lives in my city. I took the last minute invitation and went solo. Later on meeting up with her and another one of her friends and having a fantastic time. The show was way beyond worth the ticket price and me and the whole crowd did not want it to end.

I learned very very young that the best way to miss out on the great things in life is to always rely on someone to be by your side at all times. When you have the freedom, time, and money to do what you always wanted to do or see what youve always dreamed of seeing, go for it on your own. You’ll meet great people along the way and have the experiences of a lifetime…. In comparison to pouting on the couch as life passes you by.

Amazing show.

Finding Peace and air In Lake Tahoe

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A much needed get away happened this weekend in honor of my first anniversary with the boy. This also happens to be my longest and happiest relationship. Yes, Im an amateur.

We coasted up through the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Lake Tahoe to experience a new place, new scenery, warm waters and the cleanest air ive ever had the pleasure to breathe . I swear you never realize how much pure shit you are breathing in on a day to day basis living in cities until you travel up to the mountains or to low populated areas.

Yes, this is what air is supposed to be.

Travel, even overnight weekend trips like this, always makes it easier for everything to click into place for me. Everything goes into perspective and I reach a certain amount of clarity especially on the return home.

Getting away and enjoying that ounce of pure freedom and discovery is liberating. I experience myself at my happiest and realize it is possible. My happiness is meant to be, and all of the stresses I left back home are not worth it and the toll it takes on my mind.

The stress comes from unimportant things. My life is the only important thing and my most prized posession and I have to continue to live it to the fullest and not plague myself with all of the What ifs.

I have to have faith and keep in mind that life is a constant cycle of change. I feel as if at 24 almost 25, Ive lived many different lives in many different places and horrible situations ive gone through seem like impossibilities that happened a life time ago. They no longer matter.

Ive grown into someone I never thought I would become, drawn to things I never imagined I would be into. And surprisingly, I’ve been led into my happiness blindly and without planning.
And even though it may not measure up to the lives and interest of most of my peers or understood by anybody i consider close to me, I feel that this is for me. And I know that I have indeed found the secret.