[Be The Change] The Women’s March: Where Do We Go From Here

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Source: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's Facebook

For the record, I’ve never once really considered myself a political personality – but in our current climate, I view it as a complete disservice to both myself and the world to continue to hold my tongue. As the clock on 2016 slowly rolled into the ever so needed New Year of 2017, many of us mused to ourselves that ‘we made it’, that the nightmare year of 2016 is over.  And over the last few days, it’s felt like 2017 has said: hold my beer, I’ve got this.

On the very first day of Trump’s new administration, any mention of Climate Change, Immigration LGBTQ or Civil Rights was been removed from the White House website. And as of today, not only has Trump has overturned both the rulings on the Dakota Access and Keystone Pipelines, but the funding for the EPA has been frozen – and as the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, employees of the EPA have been banned from discussing anything on social media or with reporters. A while back, Trump produced a list of his proposed actions within his first 100 days as President, and the actions within his first 5 days have set an ominous tone for the next 95. As a nation, we’ve found ourselves swimming in a polarized, political predicament made magnitudes worse by the gross ignorance of pockets of our population, many of which are neighbors, family or even friends.  Though I’ve found myself up in arms, both nervous and frightened by the potential of impending doom looming over the horizon – it’s also why the Women’s March this past Saturday is all the more poignant, and the movement all the more important.

We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”

On Trump’s first day of office, he spoke – loud and clear, and we all listened with heavy hearts and bated breath. The next day, millions of women around the world woke up and had an equally important message for the world: We will not stop passionately pursuing human rights for all – for those of faith and the impoverished, for the physical disabled and sexually abused, the LGBTQIA community and native populations; we fight for all – for all colors, all ages, all ethnicities, all genders. Sure, in name – it was called a Women’s March – but in reality, this was a Human’s March, representing the underlying need for us to be treated equally as humans that inhabit this planet side by side. The Women’s March was a march for reproductive rights and against the defunding of Planned Parenthood; it was a march for ending violence including police brutality and racial profiling, a march for LGBTQIA rights, worker’s rights, disability rights, immigrant rights and environmental rights. It was a march for you, a march for your children and your grandchildren after that – and a march for the betterment of our country.

Collectively, the Women’s March was over 5 Million Strong worldwide, with half a million peacefully protesting at our nation’s capital in Washington DC – now considered the largest inaugural protest in United States History.  Los Angeles alone was responsible for nearly 15% of the national population – drawing over 750,000 into the heart of downtown as they marched their way into history, or rather – herstory.

In just the last few years, America has seen the beginnings of several great progressive movements – including Operation Wall Street, and the Black Lives Matter – generate magnitudes of national support.  But what these movements have all seemed to lack is the leadership and internal administration to push the movement forward with a common goal and a voice. So, here we sit with the Women’s Movement at the same conjuncture as with those recently passed progressive movements – and now we must face a similar question – where do we go from here?  Good news, is there are some answers.

The Women’s March didn’t end Saturday evening – and truth be told, our movement has only just begun.  Just as Trump has his actions for the first 100 days, so does the Women’s March. Meet the ’10 Actions / 100 Days’ Campaign. The first matter of business on the agenda is a call to action – urging people to reach out to their Senators and representatives and talk about pressing, pertinent issues and let them know how you‘re willing to fight for the issues alongside them.

This is not a time to remain silent, this is a time to be heard.   Be willing to call attention to important issues and have discussions – with friends, strangers and everyone in between. Find a local organization in your community and join forces, or find a national nonprofit group that fits your fancy.  Many organizations have partnered with the Women’s March and could absolutely use the assistance – some of those include Planned Parenthood, the National Resource Defense Council, Greenpeace USA, the ACLU, GLAAD, Girls Who Code, Free The Nipple, and more.  For the full list, head here.

Rise up and join the Movement – because if one man can create our current state of political unrest, certainly a group of strong, supportive women – and the men that support them – can right the wrong’s they see in the world.

Vital Links

Women’s March // National  | Los Angeles

`Volunteer // Los Angeles

March and Rally: Los Angeles // WebsiteFacebook

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[LA Life] Getting Artsy at ARTIC

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“Time goes faster the more hollow it is.
Lives with no meaning go straight past you,
like trains that don’t stop at your station.”
Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

One of my favorite things about photography is the belief that each and every one of us views the world through their own technicolor lens. We all see different shades of beauty in the world, and photography gives a keen insight into the way that each person’s visual interpretations can differ.

To say that I have an obsession with beautifully unique architecture and lavish locations is a bit of an understatement.  My wanderlust propels me to constantly explore, adventure and discover each and every corner of the world, but mostly – my own backyard of Southern California. Boasting a beautiful menagerie of natural settings, from the diamond blue oceans of the Pacific to the snow-capped mountains, fields of flowers and the deserts between, California’s got a little bit of everything for every type of nature lover. So, when I tell you that for the past year I’ve been itching to go take pictures of a Transit station, you might not get it – until you see for yourself. Ever since Instagram introduced their geotagging feature a few years ago, I’ve been building, developing and adding to an epically long list of places I want to frolick around like a little fairy, or at the very least photographically capture them to my heart’s desire. And one of the very first places on that list was ARTIC, otherwise known as the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center.

Located part way between Angel’s Stadium and the Honda Center, ARTIC was unveiled to the public in December of 2014. Depending on who you ask it’s, the venue itself is either $188 Million Dollar drain, or a photographer’s wet dream with great lighting, lots of color, loads of reflections and a whole lot of symmetry. Since I don’t live in Anaheim, I’ll go with the later – but after visiting, I definitely understand the former as well.

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Even though I’d permanent markered ARTIC into a list of epic, must-shoot places, it was purely a beautiful coincidence that I happened across it.  Just the other weekend, I was down in Anaheim with Danny to handle some family business.  We were getting a bit famished and my craving for happy hour oysters had set our hungry kitty sights on Oyster Bar SKC.  As we pulled into our parking spot, the technicolor haze of lights inside ARTIC danced across the sky and I felt like a little kid that just got to the amusement park.  Words spilled out of my mouth as I bubbled over with excitement as we walked between the Palm Trees, underneath ARTIC’s rainbow ceiling, and into a technicolor daydream.

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Come for the pictures, stay for the oysters. Currently, there are plans to build a Pinkberry on the first floor of ARTIC – but until then, the one tried and true food favorite is the Oyster Bar SKC which boasts $1 oysters during happy hour, half-off appetizers and beer as well as some of the most delicious drinks I’ve had in recent months.If you’re a fan of the venue but don’t live nearby, you’re in luck because Oyster Bar SKC is opening a second location down in sunny San Diego, with a third in the works just around the corner from Los Angeles in Pasadena. Though there aren’t very many reasons to visit ARTIC, there are definitely a few – catch a baseball game at Angels’ Stadium or catch a concert at the Honda Center, Chapman University and Disneyland are also just a little jaunt away.

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For more on ARTIC, head to their socials, browse through my favorite photos – or just jump on the local transit lie and take a little trip – I promise you, it’s so worth it.

ARTIC on Instagram

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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First and Last Photos by Daniel Leist Photography

[The Audiofiles] The BPM Festival Goes Global With Expansion Events in Portugal and Brazil

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For a select group of audiophiles, the New Years celebrations have continued far into 2017 as they dance with delectable House and techno rhythms in Playa del Carmen at The BPM Festival, deep into the heart of the night. But for others – including the team behind the BPM Festival – this has been a time of change, growth, and transformation. With this year’s event in full swing, The BPM brand is excited to announce their plans to expand the franchise internationally with two new festivals in Brazil and Portugal in 2017.

From April 28th through May 1st, frolic in the gorgeous beach resort towns of Praia Brava, Itajai and Balneário Camboriú with Brazilian partner Gustavo Conti, owner of the esteemed Warung Beach Club. Known for their fabled sunrises over the open air venue, Warung Beach Club finds itself in the top quartile of The DJ Mag’s Top 100 Club polls. Meanwhile, across the pond in Europe, The BPM Festival’s Portugal iteration will descend on an untapped beach region in September and will be partnering with none other than Will Gregory of Goldfrapp fame.

Curated in almost a decade ago in 2008, the evolution of The BPM Festival has been a testament to the creative ethos cultivated by friends, Co-Founders and Directors Craig Pettigrew and Phillip Pulitano.

“…after 10 years of honing our craft, we’re ready to take our grand show on the road. We hope to continue our commitment to diverse and forward-thinking lineups and expand to new territories and show the beauty of the different countries to our international fans who are the true techno tourists.”Phillip Pulitano, Co-Founder + Director

For more on The BPM Festival, head to their socials:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

[Self Discovery] Water Your Own Garden

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You are here now. Those four words echo through my head like the perpetual reverberations of time. In the past few days, I’ve felt an awakening in my center, a soul-shaking, mind-altering shift in my own consciousness as we’re poised to embark on this new journey around the sun.  Hindsight being 20/20, as I think back to the past year, hell – even the past few months, I find myself in awe of my own growth spurts. And now, we’re at the precipice of a new cycle, the perennial moments of the new year and I have to say – it’s a wonderful time to be aware.

As I collect my annual memories and analyze them through a birds-eye view, my resolution for 2017 comes in crystal clear: the grass is greener where you choose to water it, so it’s time to water my own garden, catalyze my own transformation and spend this year turning inward to become the best version of myself.

With the exponential growth of social media grow and smart phones, one could argue that we’re actually just making dumb people.  Don’t get me wrong, being on social media can be fun. It’s a great way to keep in touch, catch up on “news”, and see what the masses are up to.  But, over the last decade, it’s turned into more of a spectator sport and digital version of the SIMS than an actual mechanism of friendship.   Instead of losing yourself in the unimportant feedback cycle of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like – put your phone down, in the other room even, and pick up a book, pick up a hobby – pick up yourself from the couch and go outside for a walk, surrounded by the wonders of nature; engage in your life, and life will engage you back.

Watering your own garden is about personal accountability for your life and the world you’re constantly curating around you; it’s about being a contributing member of your tribe; and, most importantly, it’s about being immersed in the magic of the moment and letting it wash over you like a late Summer rain on a warm August day, without hesitations from past anxieties or future worries.  It’s about creating your own curiosity and caring less about what others are doing in their own lives.  One of the biggest realizations I’ve had as an adult is that we are all the center of our own universes, and each is just as chaotic and nonsensical as the next – but time after time, people become so wrapped up in ourselves that they forget – I have a universe inside me, too. An empath at heart and a giver by nature, sometimes I don’t realize how much of myself I pour out freely for others – often to the point that I have little to none of myself left. So this year, I want to focus on shifting my perspective inwards, focusing on the cosmic shifts that I can cultivate by my own hands.  Collecting intention and owning the now, I finally see what’s possible for me – and let me tell you, it’s possible for you, too.Water your own garden, and you’ll see your life bloom and blossom in ways you ever thought possible.

How do you choose to water your own garden and what are your resolutions for the coming months? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy 2017!

[The Audiofiles] Early Birds Get the Bounce: LIB PreSale Tickets Go On Sale Today!

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Every once in a blue moon, a festival evolves into more than just a weekend romp with newfangled friends and unlimited hours of music – it becomes a community that cultivates it’s own ethos, a family reunion drenched in techno and technicolor, a place that we call home for one weekend every year. That unicorn of a festival is different for each and every one of us, but for me – it’s Lightning in a Bottle. Now nestled into the campgrounds of San Antonio Recreation Area in Bradley, California – the Do LaB’s fabled Lightning in a Bottle Music and Arts Festival is set to return this Memorial Day Weekend.

Over the last decade, LIB has blossomed into a hub for West Coast Bass, House music that makes you Woogie and a vast array of both internationally acclaimed talent and up and coming, locally loved musicians, painters, and artistic visionaries – and this year, the festival will even have a few extra surprises.

Today, at 10 AM PST, the first round of tickets will hit the interwebs and with a stellar, sold out event last year you can bet your bottom dollar that these highly coveted Early Bird tickets will sell out quick like a bunny, while general admission tickets go on sale January 24th. Unlike previous years, there will be no one day or two day passes available for the event, every ticket will span the four days of the event.

Purchase Tickets Here!Relive the magic, music, and merrymaking of last year’s Lightning in a Bottle with this decadadently delightful video Directed by Ari Fararooy and Produced by Media Stranger.

For more on Lightning in a Bottle and the Do LaB, Head to their socials –

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud

[LA Life] Say Yay to Snow Days!

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Halfway between a creature of habit and victim of circumstance are a multitude of reasons that I’ve barely ever visited the snow.  Growing up as a swimmer in the Bay Area, I loved the sun and water more ways than I could count; while on family vacations we constantly favored beautiful beaches with their sandy waves over the glistening snow-capped mountains.  I barely ever made it to the snow as a child and can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen it in person.  Not to mention, I can be quoted as saying “I’m a Image may contain: tree, snow and outdoor‘Hawaii’ kind of girl” more times than I can count, because bless my parents – they still like to remind me of all those years before I turned into such a nature nymph. To them, it’s any wonder that I’ve turned from a self-professed city kitty into a rough(er) and tumble(r) snow bunny, but here I am – ready for business, and by business I mean nature-inspired personal pleasure.

One of the many, many fantastic things about living in Los Angeles (Southern California…and just California in general),  is that on any given day you can make a trip to the sand or a trip to the snow; if you’re feeling frisky, you can even get a delightful dose of both! Beach days, though beautiful, are proverbially a dime a dozen in the land of palm trees, blue skies and power lines and let’s get real – everyone flocks to the sandy shores: your housemates, your neighbor, your landlord, celebrities and vacationers all come for the beach – which makes hitting those pearly slopes significantly sweeter.  There are near trips and far trips, day trips and trips you should probably make a whole weekend out of. Don’t quote me on exact travel times because, HELLO Los Angeles traffic, but if you’re in the mood for a fantastic day trip – Mt Baldy and the defunct Mt Waterman Ski Lifts make for excellent treks and are just an hour outside of LA proper in the San Gabriel Mountains, while Big Bear in the San Bernadino National Forest is a little over two hours away.  If you’re feeling like an adventure is in the works, Sequoia National Forest is a few hours away and makes for an epic Winter weekend journey.

Pack + Play

For as fun as a snow day is, being fully prepared for your snow day will make things go a hell of a lot smoother (and, warmer!). First things first, make sure you have enough hydration and nutrition to last the day – and then some.  Make some sandwiches, grab some snacks get a good combination of both salty and sugary foods; in case anyone’s body starts going into a bit of shock – it’ll bring them right back! When it comes to water, even though the weather might be a big frightful and frigid, it doesn’t mean your body isn’t working overtime – especially if you head out on a hike.  Make sure you have twice as much as you think you need, and enough for any pups (or, brave cats!) that are along for the ride. Just like in the movie Shrek, when it comes to clothes in the cold – it’s all about layers, so snag a scarf, get a beanie, and a hoodie – or two; if you’ve got fur, this is the perfect time to rock it.  Because of the nature of snow, if you’ve got waterproof pants, socks and or shoes, bring ’em out. Basically, waterproof everything is a plus – GoPro, iPhone 7, you name it – it’s perfect for the snow.  Also, booze…responsible boozing also makes the snow a whole lot more fun.


[Wedding DIY] Say ‘I Do’ to Creatively Customized Invitations

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Plan a wedding, they said – it’ll be fun, they said.  Don’t get me wrong – because this is all sorts of fun; but a kind of detail-oriented, take-charge type of fun where you’re always second guessing yourself because most likely, you’ve never done this before – nor are you planning on ever really doing it again type of fun.  Thankfully, I’ve discovered some clutch resources that have made the initial steps infinitely easier.

Pin + Plan

The initial planning stages always seem the hardest, going from the grandiose, umbrella idea of a fabulous wedding to whittling down nuanced details on color, style and formality. Now that your wedding date is tangible, the reality of your ideas have manifested into a horse of a different color where compromise is key, so at the very least get a grip on your ideas with a solid brainstorm session with your significant other.Hands down, Pinterest has proven to be a great resource for both researching and cataloging ideas, especially now that we can have collaborative Pin Boards.  I’m sure there’s a lot of us whose Wedding (and Engagement, and Bridal Shower…) Pin Boards are older than our relationships, but in our defense – it’s not like we haven’t been dreaming of this day since we were little kids, we’ve just been waiting for the perfect way to organize it.

Capture Your Love Story

If you asked me what I thought of Engagement Photos a year ago, I probably would have laughed at you – not that I don’t think they’re beautiful, I just always found them to be superfluous, ostentatious, pseudo-omnipotent views of love. But then I thought about the idea of love, letting it’s truth wash over me like a light rain and I realized that love is supposed to be larger than life, or at least larger than us as individuals, and it should be opulent in all of it’s hidden riches that hide deep in the heart, so – yes, let’s capture it, let’s capture love in it’s purest form. And the more it truly sunk in that Danny and I were tying the knot, the more I wanted to capture this version of our love in a time capsule that I can hold close to my heart.   So, tl/dr – a thousand times yes, invest in your engagement photos because it’s really a gift to yourself.

When it comes to your photos, my suggestions here are twofold. First -pick a location that resonates at the same frequency as your relationship, pick a special place that the two of you find as beautifully unique as your relationship. For our pictures, we spent a weekend frolicking around the stunning Sequoias hand in hand, kissing around every corner – and it reminded me a thousand times over why I’m over the moon excited to be spend the rest of my forever with him.

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Second, and equally important: find a photographer that you can feel vulnerably yourself with, and in effect ‘naked’ in your love for each other.  If you’re around the Southern California, or East Coast Area – I highly and absolutely recommend Juliana Bernstein, better know around these parts as Get Tiny Photography, for any and all photo duties.  I met Juliana back while I working with The DJ List but it wasn’t until my time with The Confluence that I finally had the pleasure of getting to know this sorceress of creation. Even though we got to know each other under the neon lights and late nights of music festivals, what turned me on to her as our engagement photographer was the way she can capture an effervescent moment in time, full of vibrant colors, depth and shadow play. Beyond being a beautiful soul with a keen eye and a mind sharp as a tack, Juliana is literally the cutest, sweetest thing in the entire world and I’m still trying to figure out how to keep her in my pocket, feed her skittles and take her with my everywhere.

For more of Juliana’s work – check our her website and socials:

Website | Instagram | Facebook | E-mail

Be Inviting

There are a few ways you can go about making your Saves the Date and your Wedding Invitation.  First, you could hire someone to take the reigns and do it for you – which I’m sure is nice, but as someone who gets off on the creative process there’s no way I would just give that up.  So, if you’re trying to DIY the damn thing, there are a few great online resources at your disposal.  The lovely folks at Minted will send you a sample package of their wares so you can get a grip on the types of paper and color combinations at your fingertips, while PaperSource has a whole host of links available for the scatterbrained bride-to-be.

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Customize Your Creation

As beautiful as the invitations are for Minted and Paper Source, the only way to have a truly customized invitation through Paper Source is to have their corporate office approve your design to actually be on their website (which is damn cool), but it was a round about process that left me wanting – thankfully, I stumbled across Basic Invite and all my problems were solved.  After getting a feel for the wedding invitations that were already out there, I realized that I saw everything as a wonderful jumping off point; a rough draft that I wanted to paint in technicolor.  I literally caught myself wanting to customize very well every facet of the Saves the Date, the Wedding Invitation – and even the RSVP card. With Basic Invite, you can upload all of your own images to create completely customized creations – yasssss.

Now, I’m definitely not a pro with Photoshop but I’m not graphically impaired, either – so with some ideas in mind, I took things into my own hands, made everything from the ground up.  The biggest issue I ran into was having a file in a large enough resolution and format to be loaded.  After some trouble, I found that saving my Photoshop Files as .TIFF files, and loading them into a private Flickr album did the trick.

After just a few round of tweaks, I’m pleasantly surprised with how everything turned out, but for the record: let’s just say that every meme you see about Graphic Designers and their clients is very, very true.   Now, I don’t want to spoil the surprise until after the New Year when the invitations are sent out, and trust me – it’s worth the wait 🙂

Pro Tip: Flirt with Free Fonts.  To quote my Fiance – all of the stock fonts in Photoshop look like they’re out of a middle school science fair presentation, so if you’re thinking of going all the way customized – I would think outside of the text box.  Of all the sites I found, I would recommend Brushez and Fonts 101.

 

Stamp of Approval

Sure, regular stamps are cool – but romantic, whimsical, wedding inspired stamps are invariably so much better. Check out the USPS website, or even take a gander inside one of your local Post Offices (yes, those artifacts of buildings still exist!).  If like Kanye, you’re accustomed to customizing – you can always order out custom stamps on Shutterfly.  It was a fleeting thought, but in a moment of pure serendipity last night, my Aunt-in-law sent me the very stamps were were looking for – and they arrived in the mail at the same time as our final invitation prints!  Suffice it to say, we’re set to send.

So, Now We Have These Pictures?

So, finally – almost three years after we got engaged, two months after we took our engagement photos – we’re ready to ship!  We used maybe 4 or 5 of the 150+ engagement photos for our invitations…and as much as it’s killed me, I’ve basically kept the good ones a secret from almost all of our friends, family – and most importantly, social media.  Not to be a curmudgeon, but I truly feel that the first time someone sees your Saves the Date photo should be when they physically open the envelope; maybe I’m a hopeless romantic, maybe I have a thing for ‘Wow’ factor – but these photos are special, you should really treat them as such. Since we used literally less than 3% of our photos, that means we invariably have a plethora of pictures for other avenues: post them all over your Instagram and feel the love of your love, reuse your photos as Holiday Cards for your friends or framed photos for your family, crop yourself a fancy new LinkedIn profile picture; the options are basically as endless as your romance, so use as you desire!

What are your favorite Wedding Invitation resources?  What creative ways have you reused your engagement photos? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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