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VEGAN : ROASTED SWEET POTATO & RED LENTIL SOUP.

chef, cooking, culinary, food, lentils, soup, sweet potatoes, vegan, vegetarian

So last night I surprised myself by coming up with a simple and delicious vegan recipe for a roasted sweet potato soup with red lentils.

I’ve never been a huge fan of the sweet potato, however since I’ve changed my diet to a mostly vegan plant based diet, I have been very diligent about revisiting some of my favorite and least favorite plant foods in order to experiment and concoct tasty recipes in effort to add more variety into my lifestyle. Something other than beans, rice and fruit. *yawn*

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This soup is extremely delicious and filling. guilt free and packed with many nutrients, proteins and good fats. the roasting process of the sweet potatoes along with the spice combination of turmeric, paprika, cayenne, & cumin brings this recipe to life!

what you’ll need:

1 bag of peeled and cubed sweet potatoes

1 cup red lentils

1/4 cup diced onion

1/4 cup roughly chopped carrot

I used about a palm full of each:

paprika

tumeric

cumin

about a tbsp of cayenne (optional)

salt and pepper to taste.

olive oil.

coconut milk (full fat)

cilantro leaves to garnish

iN SHORT:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

coat sweet potato pieces in olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika and cumin and roast at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until tender.

on the stove top,

add a tbsp of olive oil to a pot

add in 1/4 onions with a pinch of salt and let them sweat until translucent.

add in carrots and cook for about 2 minutes before adding in one cup of red lentils.

add in enough veggie stock to completely cover your lentils and let simmer until they are soft.

Once the sweet potatoes are tender, remove from the oven and place them in a blender along with your now soft lentils and broth. feel free to add more veggie stock if needed.

blend all together until smooth and return back to pot over low heat.

adjust seasonings and add in half a can of coconut milk and a dash of cayenne pepper for a little spice (optional)

Here’s a short video tutorial of how it is made. Test it out!

ENJOY!

Letting go of Self-Doubt

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A pep talk for myself.

The vlogging thing is becoming easier and I think I found the secret. I do believe that by sticking to vlogging as a hobby it will expand my own entire view of myself. We’ll see. I plan to continue to vlog at least weekly for the rest of the year.

I shall also continue blogging. It is what comes naturally to me : writing. However it’s also a great idea to show my face and create a place for memories.

(And Fun too :)

Getting over Myself

blog, energy, fear, psychology, self help, spiritual

One of my main focuses at this point of my life is to rid myself of all of the things that are no longer serving me or have never served me and to be fearless in doing so.

In my previous post “The Paradox of Self Love” I spoke of how doing things out of self love can potentially rock our worlds and turn it upside down which may, in turn, scare us out of what we are supposed to be doing and keep us right where we are right now if we choose to give in to that fear.

I’ve been desiring a change, a fresh start and adventure. I want to write down all of the things that I feel aren’t lining up with my true heart’s desire and why I am afraid of giving these things up. I want to ask myself why I am still torturing myself or punishing myself by keeping these entities around. What am I really scared of? What’s the worst that can happen?

Then I want to ask myself if my fears are even rational… because, lets face it, when we have these types of fears our minds tend to over exaggerate potential consequences of our actions when, in truth, the action of leaving one thing behind can be the key to opening other doors that will lead us to our ultimate destiny. Our fears seem highly unlikely but our minds will trick us into believing that these fears are in fact very possible and even common occurrences. Our minds will jump to the absolute worst case scenario and not even let us get an inkling that the idea is incredibly far fetched. If most of us were to speak of our fears and worst case scenarios aloud or to a friend, we will probably realize just how absurd and ridiculous we sound.

So in efforts to get over myself I plan to write down the things I want, how I can accomplish them along with the things I will have to give up and things in my life that are not bringing me any positive energy. And, one by one, I plan to go through the steps to truly walk in my life’s purpose.

The Paradox of Self-Love

depression, love

Self love is an art most people should be practicing everyday.

This weekend I found myself feeling so entirely grateful for the positive mental space I am currently in because I remember in the not so distant past, I was in a place where I simply could not find any reason to be grateful to simply be alive. Life was a horrible job I had to suffer through. The sun was annoying, the darkness was scary, sounds made me cry and anxious. Interacting with people was a buzzing noise I couldn’t hear through because my thoughts are so loud.

The past 2 years or so I discovered ways to combat my own depression in healthy ways and when I catch myself falling, I know exactly what to do and what to repeat to myself so that it all fades away.

One of the things that snapped me out of it was one of many interactions with strangers. I had been speaking to this woman in what I felt was a very normal way and she looked up at me with sad eyes and said,

“well… you have to be kind to yourself.”

And I just stood there speechless for a long second and then said, “I know.” I had been talking down of myself completely not knowing what I was doing. Speaking as if I was stating facts about myself to her instead of what I was actually doing: projecting my own thoughts and scenarios into the moment. My own thoughts that simply weren’t kind towards myself or my surroundings. My own thoughts that trick me into seeing a completely different and incredibly warped version of myself than other people see of me. A version that I always felt I had to hide. A version that doesn’t even exist.

But it was that woman’s words that snapped me into consciously practicing the art of self love within my mind. Recognizing why I am feeling down and acknowledging it. Doing things that I love to do so that I won’t feel trapped in the matrix. Understanding my body and what I have to do and eat to keep it at it’s healthiest. Leaving things, people, and situations I feel that I must, when I must. Simply just being completely self aware, understanding what it is that makes me happy and balanced versus sad, angry and depressed, and taking the necessary steps I must take to be in that happy place. And in taking these necessary steps, I can’t punish myself for it or let myself feel guilty for doing things that were best for me. I can’t think that something is “wrong” with me for trying to be happy. I’m just going through life.

Like all else, making myself, my health and my own happiness the first priority may seem like a long shot because let’s face it, most of us don’t do it. Most of us do punish ourselves more so than we praise ourselves. We can point out every flaw in ourselves that no one else on Earth can see or care about.  And yes, at times it can be the hardest thing to do. Making the necessary decisions we have to make for ourselves to be happy can introduce an entire world of life changes we would have to face.

For example, losing weight, leaving a bad relationships, leaving a miserable job, moving out on your own anything that will completely flip your life around can make it seem that just staying put and doing nothing is the easier route instead of acknowledging that it may indeed be the easier route BUT what you have to do is take an extreme action that may create a positive domino effect and open up a new world for you

When I would acknowledge the change I would have to make, what I would have to go through to reach the place I wanted to be, and what I was scared of,  I would simply sleep on it. Once I woke up, drank water and ate a healthy meal I would be be in the right frame of mind to attack the first step. Once I would take the first step into what I needed to do, it seemed like everything else would fall into place with less of a fight. Like this is what was meant for me in that moment and by the end of the road I would be a new person. Closer toward the best version of myself and often times more prepared, less scared, wiser and stronger than who I was before whatever obstacle I had to gear up for.

But again, it is an extreme act of self-love and it is not easy to do nor does it only take a good nights sleep. I’ve been in a limbo for a long time in one aspect of my life . A limbo I can’t get out of mentally because I’m honestly tired of fighting the good fight sometimes. I feel I have to truly get ready for the steps I would have to take because I needed a breather in between steps (lol). I do feel that doing things when I am not mentally prepared for it will end in disaster.

And that’s why mental preparation is always my very first step. Getting over it before I attack it. Accepting all of my what ifs and negative thoughts and realizing it will all be worth it in the end. Whatever happens on the road to where I want to be will be worth what it will take to leave whatever it is behind. After all, none of this matters anyway. Life is nothing but a grand adventure so I may as well enjoy it. Adventure makes life enjoyable. Releasing this fear and mentally letting go of whatever it is I have to move on from first, makes things easier on me.

The most important aspect of life for me is freedom. Once I do not feel free is the moment I have to make a change.  I crave it now. The first step is a process that may or may not take a long time but it is important to take it to change my entire world.

This year feels like a year of transition for me and I spent forever getting ready for it. I have no idea what will come my way but I know what changes I want to make. I’ve opened myself up to whatever changes are coming and have given myself the time to invest into doing more of what I love. I’ve let go of a lot in order to make room for other things.

I still feel both excitement and fear for it, however I know that I am and I will always be ok.

Gratuity: Ending One Year for a New.

blog, life, personal

It seems only a natural occurrence that at the years end most of us tend to reflect upon the year as a whole. For the past 2 years I’ve been having an overwhelming sense of gratitude at the mark of the end of the year which in turn leads to an eventual spike in my optimism at the start of a new year. This spike of optimism is almost like the starting line of a race for me. Looking around, planning a strategy and bam! the gun fires and you take off. All of the nerves created by waiting for the go signal eventually goes away and your eye is on the prize, executing your strategy and meeting unexpected and sometimes devastating road blocks with deep breaths and meditation. Sometimes. Well, you try your best.

This year, I feel, is the 2nd good year I’ve had in a row. Three and more years ago I never felt as if I had any good years. I felt my life was miserable for absolutely no reason at all other than I wasn’t, at the time, in a healthy state of mind. And, two years ago, as I found myself truly appreciating all that life had offered me over the course of the ending years, it led me to appreciate all of the good and bad things that were to come my way in the New Year. I knew that if it was to become a “bad” year for me, at least I had a great year before it, at least I started the new year with complete gratitude and optimism and at least I will end that year becoming a stronger person in whichever way life chose to challenge me.

While there are so Many Blogs and Vlogs going around about some of my favorite topics : New Year Resolutions, What 2014 taught them, Goals, and reflections, it only seems natural for me to, once again, put myself out there and come forth with my own for my lovely readers if any of you are remotely interested, read on:

1.) This year I learned that no person ever “grows up”. While I was spending so much of my life obsessing over adulthood and wanting nothing more but to make it there then finally being 25 and feeling like I am still just a kid who is working and paying bills. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I “grow up” when the entire idea of growing up is all a myth and fallacy. We are all just children in aging bodies.

2.) At the beginning of 2014 I set a few goals, which I am proud to say I completed (mostly… I’ll elaborate) : With my new job out of culinary school I was excited to have money again and to save. I wanted to end the year with a specific amount of money. I also wanted to purchase a DSLR, a MacBook Pro,my annual birthday trip and my passport, huh, finally. All of these were big purchases for me so to complete all of this and save, it forced me to learn and be crucial on budgeting my money. I didn’t want to work two jobs again ever in my life so spending wisely while still getting some fun in there was one of the most important learning experiences of my life. So I almost failed on getting my passport. It is December 29,2014 and I just submitted an order online. So I kind of failed since I wont complete the process until we are already into the new year, but nevertheless I started it (finally). Before buying it I was struggling with should I complete this goal and fail at my savings goal for the year  or just wait a week… petty, I know. So I began my passport process and fell short of my savings goal by $126 . Buuut, I also chucked whatever coins I got back after paying in cash over the year into a jar and never used it, vowing to cash it in at the start of 2015. Its full, a smaller jar, but about 16oz full of coins so seeing how much accumulated is something I’m looking forward to,

3. This year I had to reevaluate what it is I wanted from my life and I was grateful to find at the end of the year that complete contentment comes from within me.  I had to figure out how and why I had suddenly reached a place of such happiness and contentment despite the imperfections of my life and it was as if I finally learned to not be so damn attached to things. Attached to my past, my future, my present. Attached to outcomes and what if’s. What should’s.

What got to me was looking back at how unhappy I had been for most of my life and how today I can’t even remember what it was that used to bother me so much. This helped me see that focusing so much on the negativity completely shields my eyes from all of the blessings around me. It’s a miracle that I am even living life and witnessing it. So much more good happens than the bad.

This year, I believe the biggest lesson I learned was that even if my life does not go according to my own plans and my own visions, it does not mean that I won’t be happy. It does not mean that I am on the wrong path and have to constantly figure out my next move and stress out over it. I simply have to gauge my happiness level despite all of the external forces upon it that I can’t always control. I can’t be so attached because, in reality, every moment passes. Eventually, the things that are causing so much stress wont even matter.

This year ended with what matters most to me: a stable, happy, healthy home life. This is what I am the most grateful for. I realized that I was chasing the wrong things. Things I didn’t want but thought I SHOULD have. Things that I felt I was entitled to and this caused me to slowly sacrifice my peace. It caused somewhat of a darkness in my spirit to rise this year and eventually, all of this negativity caused more negative things to come my way until I corrected it, healed what I felt I should sacrifice and instead I chose home, over work.

Sometimes we all can get lost into work and everything that comes with it because we spend so much of our lives there that suddenly, that drama and those politics can really get to you. It can be hard to snap out of it and realize that you already have it good and that everything you are being told to strive for just isn’t for YOU. I simply wasn’t willing to sacrifice that much more time and energy and take that away from what was even more important to me. I saw that in order to get what it was I was being told to strive for, and to reach for, I would have to completely change everything that makes me me. All of my values would have to go out the door, all of my other aspirations would have to be put on hold.

This is my day off epiphany apparently.

It’s possible to just enjoy what I do but to keep things as they are until I find what I want. That will come eventually, hopefully.

Ok! Goals for 2015:

1.) ive been eating about 90% vegan and i feel this is the best thing gor me and i plan to continue. I realize im not at that place where i want to be strict vegan to where im avoiding cheese, eggs etc. I eat vegan mostly but im not going to shoot myself in the head whenever i have a vegetarian pizza or eggs with my french toast . Cage free and organic because they taste best.

2.) I’m inspired by my new lifestyle change to workout again and meditate more often. Ive always been into health and fitness but apparently took an entire year off from working out always saying ill work out “tomorrow” or the weekend that never came. Im purchasing a gym membership at the start of the year because it is what i miss and what motivates me. It gets me out of the house, opens me up to new people and experiences hopefully, inspiration from other motivated people. Plus, I seem to have more motivation when I know im paying for something. Im putting my money where my mouth is! Theres work to be done. I definitely dont need to lose weight, im 126 lbs but my muscle definition and energy levels are what i want back. Along with just another activity to add to my daily routine.

I want to join a yoga studio as well this coming year. Hopefully having that in my routine with add an extra boost to my mental , spiritual and physical health. Im always striving for balance and a full life and i believe this is what i need at this point on my journey.

3.)Repeat my savings and budgeting practices and goals including saving all coins in a lovely jar.

4.) i want to travel to a place that will change my life for the better. A place that will reignite any passion or zest for life that i may lose this year. A place that will reconnect me with the earth and life as a whole. A place that will remind me of the true reason I am here.

5.) I want to begin vlogging and continue to blog on a consistent basis. This is a big deal that i have been struggling with for years but i promise, guys, that I am getting over myself.

To all my of readers, i am so amazed by how many of you are supporting this blog after only a short period. This blog is very young so I am both surprised and amazed that so many of you have chosen to support it already! I would love to eventually connect with you all and hear about your resolutions and relections.

Cheers to another fantastic year!

VEGAN: A Love Story (so far)

blog, food, personal

I’m pretty sure that I have not mentioned that over the course of my short 25 years on this earth, I have been an on and off vegetarian. This on and off thing has been happening since I was about 7 years old and lasted until now. It all started when I was at a friends house for dinner after a long day of playing outside and her mother, a horrible cook I found out, made fried chicken that was just calling my name.

I bit into a wing… my favorite piece. I expected it to be just so crunchy on the outside, so delicious through and through. Instead, I bit into it and got a nasty burnt taste. Oh yes it was crunchy on the outside, golden brown on the top but pitch black and ashy on the underside as if it had been forgotten about at one point in the process. Then I felt all of my insides rushing into my throat as I looked down and saw my bite marks.

Blood.

Raw chicken meat and blood rushing out of it onto my plate.

I grabbed my napkin, so grateful that I did not swallow it, and spit it out politely. I sat for awhile in shock staring at my plate, said I had to go home, and called my mom. I whispered to her what had just happened to me while I was alone in another room of my friends apartment and she told me I did the right thing: don’t eat it. come home.

The image and feeling of disgust of that moment never left my mind and it was that moment that sparked the thoughts of If I am supposed to eat meat, why then, am I so disgusted and told to run away and reject it if it is in it’s natural state? All bloody and raw. As a big animal lover, I knew good and well that animals would love their meat exactly like that. I saw it happen plenty of times. Something was wrong.

My first vegetarian stint lasted about a month in my young age. The next stint didn’t happen until a Mcdonald’s food poisoning incident that happened at age 10 from 2 cheeseburgers and a strawberry milkshake. A very memorable projectile vomiting filled day followed up with significant weight loss, stomach ulcers, and lots of milk of magnesia. I was in constant pain and couldn’t keep anything down for the entire summer therefore I refused to eat anything that wouldn’t taste at least halfway decent coming back up. This vegetarian stint lasted 2 and a half years until I entered high school. I wasn’t vegetarian again until I was about 19 years old and simply remembered everything I had gone through with food in the past as I was eating some form of chicken. By that point I had food poisoning from Mcdonalds two more times, food poisoning from a canned chili once, and witnessed my mother having food poisoning from bad ground beef in her enchiladas. My chewing slowed, I swallowed forcefully and pushed my plate away obviously traumatized. Vegetarian again for 2 years.

Since then I ended up being pescetarian, then plant-based with the occasional big burger, carne asada taco or seafood gumbo around the holidays, to full on meat eater, fast food junkie (mainly taco bell) back to vegetarian. It was a journey and still is.

Then over the course of this year, I had  more of a desire or natural urging for me to stop consuming animal products altogether. I reflected upon my relationship with food over my life time and took note of all of the food poisonings, the bite of bloody chicken, all the stomach ulcers, doctor visits, the psoriasis, the eczema, fatigue, stomach pain, constipation, laziness, depression. And I compared that to how I felt during my vegetarian stints : Beautiful golden brown clear skin, normal weight, energetic, happy…regular if ya know what I mean.

Documentaries like VEGUCATED somehow came into my life as though placed strategically by the universe and I began my Vegan transition immediately. I told myself to not be too attached to the outcome or to my failures if they ever happen and for close to a month now I have been in transition not knowingly consuming anything containing animal products.

My love for cooking was rejuvenated with this change and my excitement for trying new things is insatiable. I’m always researching new things, reading up on other vegans and reading tons of labels at the grocery stores. So far my diet consists of lots of whole fruit (always my favorite thing ever) smoothies which are sometimes green and sometimes not. vegan chilis, vegan tacos, pastas and the good ol NOOCH, or nutritional yeast, which I just got introduced to and absolutely love. People say give your taste buds time to adjust to it but, honestly, I bought some on Saturday, put it on my pasta that night and have been in love with it ever since.

To aid in my transition, however, I did buy some vegan mock meat burgers for whenever I am truly craving that meat taste. I had one out of the four pack of Boca and was turned off by exactly what I was craving. It tasted like meat…bleh. It’s not exactly a waste as it does serve as a reminder of why I decided to try a vegan diet but I was slightly disappointed that it may, in the long run, end up in the trash.

Like most vegans, I believed that cheese would be the hardest thing for me to give up and I also believed that since I am the only person I know who is vegan or even vegetarian that it would be hard but it doesn’t seem as hard as I thought. I’m grateful for the ability to buy my own foods now that I am an adult and to have a supportive partner who is trying with his whole heart to be at least vegetarian. We don’t keep meat in the house unless it is for our two dogs who we refuse to feed a vegan or vegetarian diet (it seems unnatural, they are carnivorous to the max by nature).
My boyfriend does occasionally buy cheese for the house but I have no urge to use it when it’s around. The smell of meat doesn’t lure me in like it used to, if anything I get a sick feeling once I smell it: bacon cooking, ground beef, cutting up chicken and eggs etc for my dogs (yes I make my own dog food, I don’t trust anything else).

So in this short time being vegan I have noticed a few things including more regularity in my digestive system, so much more energy, more positive thoughts, and I have been feeling a much deeper connection with the world around me and other life forms: animals and people. My weight is back to normal from 135lbs to 127lbs. Another change is that I seem to want to eat all day every single day!

It’s almost like there’s no longer a 3 meals a day thing. I’m always eating something whether I’m snacking on grapes, eating bananas, drinking a smoothie or two, eating vegan chips and hummus (I absolutely can eat this all day so I try to be careful), vegan spaghetti, or lots and lots of vegan tacos filled to bursting with sautéed veggies, peppers, rice and beans of my choice. Roasted red bell pepper hummus spread on the bottom of the tortilla, romaine lettuce and fresh avocado slices to top it off.

It’s such a satisfying diet, so much flavor, and I feel like I can eat so much more and feel so much more energetic still than I did on a standard american diet which often left me lethargic and sleepy.

All of my energy has inspired me to pick up blogging again, fitness, more holistic approaches to my own health care and of course exciting new vegan snacks I’m dying to try like Quinoa crisp chocolate bars and Coconut chips.

I would love to connect with other vegans and vegetarians for inspiration so If you are one, I’d love to follow you!

Hey Guys! I am alive + 2015 Goals

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It has been a long while it seems since I posted last. Both a lot and nothing has changed since my last update but it is safe to say that I am in a perfectly contented and happy place and it feels good to finally be back. The best part of the changes I have been making in life has to be the art of non attachment. The reality is that I don’t have to force myself to do things that I simply am not passionate about which would ultimately end up being loads of trash for the readers I do have out there.

I am not here to bore you guys nor am I here to bore myself. I’m totally not about that life.

I am back to work as a pastry chef. Am I happy about it? Yes I guess. For now, I have absolutely no complaints and I look forward to going to work most days. However, in conflict with this I have started my official transition to veganism which completely goes against what I am doing for a living but I am dealing with everything day by day.

The vegan transition is going very well. I am stoked every time I have to cook. I search through all kinds of recipes, and have been trying all kinds of different foods and I have ultimately been enjoying food even more so than I did before. My health so far has been better although it has only been a few weeks since the change and my energy and positivity has been way up. I’m enjoying how much more deeply connected I feel to the universe, people. and all living things since I have woken up and become more conscious of how my personal choices impacts the world around me.

Going hand in hand with this change in lifestyle came a very much so unintentional internet break where I had no desire to connect with anyone that wasn’t in my immediate life. All of my social media was neglected and forgotten about and right now it still is. I became very reserved in my actual life not wanting to do anything social. I sort of just wanted to stay in, read, watch movies, play with my dogs, and enjoy my relationship for the past few months. Through this break I decided that I do still want to connect but I want to only put out things that can positively affect other people. I don’t want to complain about my own life, talk about what’s going wrong in the world, become preachy or do anything else that wont be beneficial to my readers.

I want to update my blog on a regular basis with my lifestyle changes, encouragement and positive lessons that I am learning along my own journey. I want to share my art, talk about personal finance (which may seem out of place now but is very much so an important factor in my life that I take very seriously). I want to share more about my vegan transition, travel, goals, recipes, fitness and everything else I consider an important part of living a life of vitality.

Come the new year, I really want to continue making transitions towards entrepreneurial endeavors. Even though I may be working for someone else for however long it takes, I feel it is all worth it once I am able to make investments into what I really want to be doing for myself. I’ve been playing around with the idea of video blogging for a few years now but have been having trouble over coming my shyness and fear of judgement. We all know the internet breeds negativity and bullies among unknown pixelated characters who are watching us but I believe that all of the inspiration coming my way is leading me to the mentality of “do it anyway, or regret it later”.

This year I bought myself a  very nice DSLR camera along with a MacBook Pro both of which have been collecting dust since the rain started falling. It was a huge investment so I need to really execute all of my ideas and projects that I have been brainstorming during my hiatus.

Also in 2015 I want to save even more money, travel to a tropical place, make friends (this is a big one since I am definitely the type of woman who enjoys her own company more than anyone else’s…. not in a negative way I just generally get drained by the energy of other people and the constant compromise of what to do, when to do it, and how). I do believe making friends is key to leveling up. Networking is everything so leaving my own comfortable bubble has to be done. Besides, a girl sometimes need a group of people to be wild and free with. It’s all about making the RIGHT KIND of friends : the kind that doesn’t drain me, but only adds to my energy and throws fuel to my fire.

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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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.

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.