It’s currently 7:30am as I’m sitting here in my robe working on poster layouts. As I take my first sip of freshly pressed coffee, I find myself wanting to switch spectacles. I want to mix it up and shift into something that can mirror my vibe. I’m feeling good and have a lot creative energy brewing already. I can tell today is going to be a productive one. As I walk from one workspace to the other in search of my clear frames, it dawned on me how hard it was to find the perfect glasses. I thought, am I the only person who’s struggled finding eyewear that not only properly fits their face, but also fits their personality and style too? Perhaps I should share this time consuming journey because if you’re looking for new spectacles, it should be a mindful purchase and one that’s personally tailored to you and for you. Not only are glasses expensive, they are a direct reflection of the person behind them. They represent your profession, quirks, interest and can even be used to embellish the you you aspire to be. At the tail-end of the height of Covid last year I made an appointment to finally get my eyes examined and update my glasses. It was eight years since my last exam and I’ve never sprung for designer or quality frames but this time I knew wanted something modern and sophisticated yet classic, like me. I’m older these days and feel like I’m really blossoming into my full future-DILF spirit. After searching online and trying on countless pairs at stores, these are the three frames I decided on and why I love them equally.
Selima Optique™ - I wanted a sophisticated pair of clear optics that didn’t look too adolescent but still showcased my humorous side. Something that said “this guy has fun while getting things done”. A classic style with a modern twist. I wanted this pair to challenge me and stretch me out of my comfort zone. After a few days of searching I finally landed on the Mike silhouette and it was love at first try-on. These beautiful glasses have a very high-end artisanal vibe and are unsurprisingly handmade in France. With a price tag that matches the craftsmanship, I paid $400 from the website and would do it again. I always feel artsy and a bit high-brow when I’m behind these frames. I feel like I should be cruising through galleries critiquing art that I don’t understand, all while spewing pseudo intellectual words to describe the lack of emotion in the undertones and the artists failure to fully commit to the work. How this lifeless canvas falls flat and stale and renders itself as hotel decor at best. – You’ve been warned, don’t ask me for my opinion when I’m in the driver seat of these baby’s. Speaking of art, this is my go-to frame when I’m designing or tackling the inevitable creative-blocks. Somehow these always seem to magically break me through those moments of low inspiration.
Saint Laurent™ - This pair started out as sunglasses but I never found myself reaching for them and always thought they would look better as prescription based eye-magnifiers. Eventually that’s exactly what they turned into. These are the SL145’s and they’re by fair my most worn pair of specs. I use them every day and basically have them on whenever I’m working from my laptop, which is very often. They’re also the pair that I pack in my camera bag and take with me on shoots. I think I paid $250 on Grailed™ and absolutely love them because you can’t beat a classic look. Apparently they aren’t available on the SL site anymore but I found a similar pair for you if you’re interested in twinning.
Aristar™ - These are the cheapest of the bunch. And by cheap, I mean FREE. I actually almost opted out of even getting them because it’s slim pickings when your insurance covers the cost of eyewear. The assistant helping me said “Honey, you might as well get them. You can always use them as spares”. I’m glad I listened to her because I have to say, I surprisingly wear them all the time. This is the pair I keep on the desk of my editing workspace (garage) so that means if I’m behind the desktop, then I’m behind these. It’s not shocking that the quality matches the price tag, but it was purely the aesthetic for me. I mean, who doesn’t like looking like Dov Charney or Oliver Zahm? There’s levels to the hipster game and these put me right at the top. I can’t even find this pair on the website but you can get them on eBay for around $18
Glasses should be stylish, fun and most importantly, comfortable on your face. You should feel confident in them and enjoy being behind the windshields of them. Dang, writing this post is making me have the itch to buy a new pair, a pair of Jacques Marie Mage™ that I’ve had my eye on for awhile. Resist, Danny, resist. – I need to give a huge thank you to my amazing optometrist, Wink Optometry™ in Westlake Village (they also have a location in Calabasas at The Commons if you’re interested). The staff is always so nice and engaging and go above and beyond to help you. If you want to do what I did and bring in your own glasses, your frames are in trusted hands. They did a fantastic job and unlike other places that sometimes accidentally crack the frames while trying to retrofit the new lenses, mine came back perfect and only took a few days. I believe they charged $75 a pair to get my prescription installed, but maybe your eye insurance is better than mine and will cover the cost.
Things are going to be changing around here, and little by little I’ve been making the shift. I want to transform this space from a purely creative based expression to one that is more aligned with my present aspirations. I want to be of service to others and help them integrate their interior world with their exterior experience. I want to be the friend that walks with you when you feel lost and helps you find your way to the future you. The you that you’ve been dreaming of becoming.
Everything starts from within. It’s our human foundation that our lives get built on. Trust me, it’s the only way we can find joy and fulfillment in the achievements of success and not crumble under the pressures and stresses that come our way. Money and accolades are the cherry on top, but true and authentic love for oneself is the Sunday.
One day (and many more after) I was feeling extremely overwhelmed with work. It was hard to focus on tasks and I was navigating my day in a state of low vibration. I could feel myself being unpleasant, not only to others but also myself. I didn’t like the experience and I knew I needed to shift things. I knew I needed to shake myself into a different physical state. I needed to move my body. I stopped everything I was doing, walked away from my desk and put my running shoes on. I headed out the door and began kicking the pavement.
I started my run at a slow pace, paying close attention to my cadence and rhythm. As I was focusing on the road ahead of me and trying to clear out all of the congestion in my mind, I started moving my feet faster. Before I knew it I was already three miles in and entering a trance-like meditative state. Nearly all of the overwhelming thoughts that were previously bouncing around in my noggin seemed to go silent. Whatever pain I was experiencing during mile four was no where to be found while entering mile eight. Physically I was on autopilot but spiritually I felt like I was connected to the source (God, Creator, whatever you wish to call it). It was me and me having this very beautiful experience with the something BEYOND. Man and nature and spirit having an enriching silent conversation together. There were no words, just feelings.
Somewhere between being out of alignment at my desk and being back in the vortex on the road, I could feel all of my worries fade away. With every step forward I made, I felt a weight fall from my mind. As I was letting all of this mental congestion go I could feel my body absorbing the wind, and with it, it brought a new energy into my being. I could feel sunshine on my skin even though it was a cloudy day. I felt free and light and unbothered by any human made worries or anxieties that I was bombarded with an hour prior. Like a wave that washes over the sand, there was no more debris in my nervous system. As I ran through mile ten I could feel something on my face that wasn’t there when I started. I placed my hand on my skin to try to delicately read this expression with my fingertips as if it were brail. The thing on my face was a smile.
On this overwhelming day I discovered that sunshine is a state of mind. It’s been cloudy many times since, but on this day I learned that I can change my skies.
They say happiness doesn’t come cheap. The old me would have agreed. But these days I’d argue that happiness comes free. Or perhaps it comes at the cost of a latte and a twenty minute car ride through the canyon. Maybe it costs me a few hours of my time spent exploring new places, or old ones that I love. It could be having an interesting conversation with someone I just randomly met at a cafe that costs me being distracted from work. These aren’t costs, these are all investments if you ask me. Happiness will no longer come with a price tag, and you can find it everywhere, when you learn how to find it in yourself first.
So how might one start finding little pieces of happiness within so they can begin to look for it without? This is a very intricate question that I touch on quite often on the Podcast but I’ll try my best to break it down as simple as possible here. When I began this overhaul of my life I had to detach myself from all of my old narratives and start taking inventory of what was authentically mine. I had to look at what I collected throughout my life and see what was there. What did I gather on my own and what did I pick up or inherit from others (friends, family, relationships). It all started with this one very simple question as I looked at each item – “how does this make me feel and does it enhance my life?”
As I carefully and consciously visited these supplements of happiness, I little by little I began purging all of the hypothetical items that people left over at my place. Once I had my own personal pile, I was able to start laying the foundation to my authenticity. I was on a mission to find the things that truly represent me, my interests, my beliefs and the internal well-being that I was trying to create in my life. It was astonishing to discover that a lot of the things that I thought were mine, was actually just stuff I liked because others liked it. I would buy high-priced materialistic items that I didn’t need, spend time with people I didn’t really enjoy, invest in things that never gave me a spiritual return and do things that always hurt in me the end. Of course this ‘stuff, things and people’ were fun for the moment and served a purpose at the time, but there’s a short shelf-life on processed happiness. When you can cultivate organic happiness from within, it’s much more filling and nourishing and doesn’t just grow in abundance during the summer, but it will even carry you through the winter. It’s time to start farming, my friends.
You know those long, grueling, organizational tasks that you put off because of how time consuming they are? And if you are anything like me, how easily distracted you can get while trying to execute said assignments. Well, that’s what I’m forcing myself to do this weekend and it starts today. I have to comb through a decade worth of film scans and digital files to see what’s in there and then organize it by year, format and client or personal work. Sounds like hell, right? I agree. The first thing I did this morning was go buy three boxes of K-cups® so I don’t have to leave the workspace for fuel. I figured the less opportunities my anxious brain has to concoct distractions, the better. I even put my phone in a different room because we all know how quickly time can slip through our thumbs.
There is a silver lining though. Since I haven’t paid attention to any of these images in years, I’ll be seeing them now as if it was for the first time. With fresh eyes, I’ll be able to scan through the work and re-discover any selects that I might’ve missed during the original editing process. This will give me fun and nostalgic content for the blog and Poster Club, which is exciting because I’ve completely fallen back in love with this website and been updating it daily again. Speaking of the Poster Club, are you aware that I haven’t released any new print editions in over a year? You guys, it’s time we change that. This is the perfect opportunity to offer you new prints from your favorite shoots.
The other reason why I’m doing this is because I need to FINALLY finalize the images for my photography book that I’ve been intermittently working on (‘work’ - using this term very loosely) over the past three years. This organization task is the thing that has single-handedly held up the printing and production process because the amount of photos I need to go through, in contrast to the limited number of pages that I have to fill is overwhelming. I’m going to be totally transparent, it’s really embarrassing to admit that this is the only reason why I haven’t put my book out yet. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. This, my friends, is one of my biggest weaknesses. And let me tell you why. I’ve lived with these photographs for years and had to see them over and over again. I’ve spent so much time with them that now when I sit with them it’s like watching paint dry. Have you ever been excited or thrilled to watch water come to a boil? Exactly. My eyes have sucked out all of the creative energy or visual stimulation from them. That initial charge that I got at the shoot or during the original editing session has been completely drained. Think of your favorite musician who sings your favorite song. To you, it never gets old. To the artist, they hope they never have to listen to it again. It’s the same thing just in a different format.
And now to walk through the veil of theatric writing and overly dramatic expressions – I know that I’m very fortunate to do things like this as ‘work’. I mean, let’s be real for a moment. Here I am in the comfort of my own home with a fresh cup of coffee, sitting in my favorite Herman Miller® office chair and typing on this huge iMac® that sits on my super rare Modernica® desk.. and complaining about how I have to skip out on a weekend of sun in order to rummage through photographs. Photographs that brought me a tremendous amount of joy and money at the time of shooting them. Seriously, even I want to slap myself for complaining so copiously about something that most people dream of doing. I’m very aware that I’m fortunate to have this luxury. But I also want to be kind to myself while mindfully acknowledging my own privilege. Work is work. No matter how you frame it, we are doing something with our time that is mandatory and obligatory in order to reap a reward or benefit. The process is the same, the only difference is the level of resistance we experience between the ‘act of doing’ and the reward from ‘being done’. Everything in the in-between is a personal choice. It took me a decade of hard, relentless work to get here, to RIGHT NOW in this chair. Perhaps I’ve earned a little wiggle room to playfully complain about something that I wish I wasn’t doing, but know that I will, because it’s important to me. So if there’s a lesson here, I suppose it’s this – do what you gotta do to get what you wanna get, and start getting it today so you can enjoy the freedom of having it tomorrow.
While I was sourcing decor for the Zen Den, which is my dedicated podcasting/meditation space in my house, I started becoming obsessed with small home accessories. I’ve always loved decor and accent pieces and been interested in creating my own for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately the Industrial Design space is a hard one to break into because the time and cost of development and production makes it nearly impossible for someone like me who doesn’t have the know-how or resources to bring an idea to life.
I think a lot of us creatives, especially the ones of us who have an entrepreneurial spirit, find it extremely difficult to enter these high level pay-to-play spaces without a school background or access to manufactures. But my curiosity and this desire to try something new while using my hands in the process lead me to going back to school, and by school I mean the University of YouTube and Google. It’s the place that I’ve learned pretty much everything creative. Photography, sewing, web design, graphic design, podcasting and many other formative lessons have all been learned by me simply leaning into my curiosity and being self-efficient. I must say, I got a crash-course and it was really fun going down the rabbit hole of this new hobby/endeavor.
Over the last three months I’ve spent a lot of time in my workshop (garage) where I’ve been playing with this new interest, cement. I’ve been exploring different ways of creating shapes from molds and what ratio of raw materials to water works best. After a ton of failed attempts, I’ve finally dialed in the final consistency, texture and overall aesthetic that I was looking for. It was really interesting to be a total rookie again and working with foreign materials because all of the mess-up’s and failures lead me to creative freedom. I finally took off the training wheels, meaning I put the molds aside and started working on my own curiosities. I began by asking myself what I need for my space? Was there a problem that I could solve without having to go to the store for a solution? What aesthetic is appealing to me but still serves a function and purpose? What would I buy if I was to see it at one of my favorite interior boutiques?
This sent me into an almost obsessive state where I began to meticulously make my own original pieces. Like a kid that just got his first Lego® set, I was building and creating something new all day, every day. I can’t lie, some of these loosely labeled artisanal creations were horrible. They looked like I gave a toddler a handful of putty in an attempt to keep them occupied while someone does some online shopping. Others weren’t bad, but still not quite there yet. My perfectionist mind said they’re not ready even though my friends loved what I was making and started taking home the pieces I wasn’t going to use – “wait, you made this… can I buy it?!”. That’s always a good source of affirmation that you’re onto something and it was nice to give my friends a trinket from my entry stage into this new project.
I’ve currently been working on a small batch of original handmade pieces over the past month that I’m really excited about. This will be my first offering using this new material and it’s invigorating because it was super challenging to finally get the pieces to a place where I feel comfortable to sell them. I try to be extremely mindful of how hard people work for their money and how special it is when someone buys something from me. If the product isn’t at a level that I’m happy with, I’d rather keep shaping it until it meets my satisfaction. That’s probably why my perfectionist brain doesn’t allow me to release things very often.
Stay tuned for more info on SS/WORKSHOP™
I’ve spent a lot of time in Malibu over the last couple of years for a few reasons. One - I read somewhere that you should go and spend time at the places where your people hangout. So who’s your people? For me, it’s self-made successful individuals that have found a solid work/live balance. Those relaxed, easy-breezy salty skinned aquatic nomads that have sand under their toes, creativity in their minds and ambition rooted in their souls. Those who enjoy life and lead with love. Those who find peace in being interconnected with the source.
Two - The beach lifestyle and culture, I love everything about it. Although I don’t know how to surf (yet) I’m honestly obsessed with it and it’s definitely something that I’ll be learning this summer. The way the ocean and beach shift my mood and remind me of how beautiful the universe is and just how insignificantly small I am in it. It grounds me and humbles me and yet has this profound way of making me feel super loved and powerful at the same time.
Three - No matter how much time I spend in Malibu, it’s as if I always find something new. This happens all of the time and everywhere. It could take shape as a new beach, a new overlook, a new house that inspires me, a new rock, or even the Chrome Hearts® sign that I’ve walked past a million times yet never even noticed it was there. There’s always something new to find if you’re mindfully seeking treasures.
Four - Last year I started getting really intentional with my connection to Malibu. One day as I was sitting on the beach by myself with the sun shinning over me and the waves dancing in front of me, I realized that I belong here. It’s where I feel tuned-in and even though it’s super expensive, it’s where I feel free. It’s where I want to start building a life and a home and to do that without the financial resources, I needed to start mentally investing and stacking up equity. I started asking myself how I would feel when I live here? What would my home look like? How many steps is it from my backyard to the sand? What do the waves sound like from my bedroom at night? What does the gravel on my driveway feel like under the tires of my car as I arrive home from the office? How does my wife greet me as I open the door? What does she look like and what is the sound of her voice? What sound comes from my sons little bare feet as the pitter-patter cascades across the floor as he charges into my arms? What am I smelling in the entrance? Is it Santal, is it homemade dinner or is it a combination of both? What does the decor look like and how is my home styled? How soft is the couch and what is the texture of the drapes? I play these mental projections over and over again and I do it often because I’m trying to create a very detailed mental story that turns into an emotional feeling, which then leads to a physical experience in my body (even typing this made me feel like I was in a meta simulation). Though I don’t have any of these fairytale things (yet), that doesn’t mean that my mind and my heart doesn’t believe it to be true. If I can see it, if I can feel it – then it’s real. It’s there waiting for me. A lot of us don’t realize that there’s a gap in time from the moment our mind constructs something for us, and the time it takes for our bodies to catch up and live in the physical experience of what we designed. I’ve seen this to be true many times.
For Example, the first time it happened was with photography. On a random day, a random guy goes and buys a random camera. He falls in love with taking photos and becomes obsessed. He unknowingly starts constructing his future, or as most of us call it, fantasizing about future achievements and the company he’s going to build from this little machine that he’s holding in his hands. This guy visualized it and started believing this fairytale in his mind. This strong belief in his own concocted story gave him the courage and confidence to start taking affirming actions as if he were already the photographer he envisions. Over the span of a decade, this guy turned every one of those creative aspirations and far-fetched dreams into his reality. That random guy is me.
The other standout is when I was overweight and wanted to physically change my body. I would see myself lean and healthy, and in this mental projection I even gave myself a six pack, which overweight me deemed as impossible. It was a moonshot, I mean now we’re dealing with alchemy and shape-shifting. But I had faith. I would run the loop of this new me over and over again as I began moving my body. I got off the couch, I changed my diet and I started replacing old habits with new ones. I would envision the new me when I walked, I would see the new me when I began running, I could see this more toned version of me coming into focus when I joined the gym. And three years later, I am currently almost exactly the dream version of what I wanted my body to physically look like. I had to dream it, I had to believe it, I had to trick myself into affirming it was true. I had to feel what it would feel like for my clothes to fit me differently. I had to mentally experience what it would be like to be able to run for over an hour. I had to tell myself to keep going. I had to believe that it wouldn’t kill me, that it would in fact bring me to life. I had to show up every day and do the work to make it happen… and eventually it did.
Five - Look, I had no freakin idea how I was going to financially take on this behemoth of a challenge when I decided that my Malibu story was my truth. I had to have faith and I had to keep reiterating to myself that it’s possible. And to be completely transparent with you, as I sit here typing this right now, I still don’t know how I’m fully going to do it, but I do know that I am a lot closer now than I was on that day that I was sitting in the sand and made the choice to run after this crazy, absurd, desire of mine. And by next year, I’m pretty certain that it will happen.
Have a dream, have an aspiration and DECIDE to lean in and claim it as YOURS. Use your mind to put yourself there in the present but use your creativity, will, discipline and faith to make sure you’re physically standing there in the future. Your future you is waiting for you, and your future life sure does look good!
I’ve battled Wednesdays for as long as I can remember. Even after fixing and healing so much in my life and getting to a place where I’m navigating on a high frequency eighty-five percent of the time, my body still always naturally knew when it was this particular day of the week. From the moment my eyes opened and my feet touched the floor, I automatically knew I was going to be operating on low energy. My mood would be in a funk and I would feel useless. My cloudy mind always resulted in normal creative tasks taking way longer than they should. I’d find myself constantly distracted and feeling lethargic. To sum it up, Wednesdays were a wreck and so was I. Everyone in my close circle knew to leave me alone.
Then at some point last year I decided to take my power back and write a new narrative for hump-day. I started putting aside my work and focusing on the things that would elevate my mental state, enhance my mood and lift my energy. Rather than laying in bed all day or sitting on the couch or dragging my butt trying to produce a creative outcome for work that usually comes easily, I started initiating things that fire me up. I started moving and using my body first thing in the morning to shift my physicality and get the heart rate going. Next, I started trying to figure out a regimen that would purge all of the junk-mail from my mind and free up some space for new information and ideas. Now I’ve really dialed in what works best for me which is meditation, journaling and reading.
Next, is a weekly physical challenge that I gave myself. I started jump-roping about five months ago and it’s safe to say that I’m addicted. Wednesdays are now the designated day that I strive to beat my previous PR (Personal Record). Some weeks I hit my goal, others I don’t, but I always strive to do my best. Today I did just that. I was on the rope for one hour and thirty-eight minutes and burned a whopping 1,211 calories. It was an exhilarating ride and I could have kept going but I didn’t want to blow a gasket!
Almost a year ago I outsourced professional guidance and found an amazing therapist. It just so happened the only space she had available was on a Wednesday (go figure). I was reluctant to take this time slot because of my relationship with the day but I knew I needed the help, and the help was much more important than the day. Fast forward to present time, right now, and therapy is one of my highlights of the week. All of my Wednesday morning rituals prime me to be open and receptive. It creates space within so I can engage in vulnerable and transparent communication between my therapist and I. – I feel like I need to make a full post on how important therapy is and how we should all seek help from a licensed professional.
After therapy I usually go over my notes for a bit and sit with what was opened up, shared or what feelings and emotions presented themselves during the session. Then I go get some sunshine. I take myself on a date, either to a cafe, the beach or somewhere that makes me happy. I try not to reflect too much or be too ‘heady’ during this time. I try my best to be fully present with the space and what’s taking place. I’m trying to get to the point where I don’t even bring a book with me and leave my phone in the car – I’m just not there yet.
In conclusion, Wednesdays used to be a real pain in the ass for me and always made me feel bad. They were the wrench thrown in the spoke of my week until I decided to re-map my experience. I gave myself permission to use the day as a ‘ME DAY’ and do things that shift my state-of-being. After a year or so, I’ve finally dialed it in and actually look forward to Wednesdays. This is proof that we DON’T have to use the cards that we’ve been dealt. With some self-love, kindness, curiosity and discipline, we can totally re-write our experience(s). What day(s) aren’t serving you? What types of experiences do you want to have and how can you implement new rituals or habits that will yield the outcome that you desire?
Lastly, I know I am extremely fortunate to have the luxury of using a whole weekday to do the things that allow me to operate on a higher frequency. This mid-week power surge that has now turned into a scheduled and structured recharge is something that I’m so grateful for. I know most of us are tethered to a 9-5 that doesn’t allow such a thing, but there’s always little gaps to be found that can be used more efficiently. There’s always new ways of integrating rituals and power supplements into our workdays. Use your lunch break to go on a walk and/or eat your food outside. Use your ten minute breaks for breathing exercises, push-ups, jumping jacks or stretches; they literally take seconds. Why not sit in your car and engage in a short meditation? Get creative. There’s always more hiding than what we think is available, we just have to look for it.
I was thinking about who my current contemporaries are. Who inspires me, whose work moves me and who has impacted my life in a meaningful way. I was closely looking at these figures and mentally evaluating what characteristics string them together. I found that it’s this – they are all curious of their own internal mechanics, they are continuously in pursuit of self-discovery and they are all in a space of service and/or contribution. Oh, and they are all master communicators.
It was quite refreshing to take inventory of this cast of characters and to see that I have so many of the same virtues and aspirations as the people who inspire me today (or as the kids would like to say, my G.O.A.T’s). But this spiritual, emotional and professional alignment is something new to me because when I think about who used to inspire me in the past, they didn’t embody any of my current beliefs. Creatively, they were the bar in which I measured my own success, but humanly or emotionally, they could have been bankrupt for all I know. I was never inquisitive to seek or explore the human behind the artwork. The face behind the camera. The soul behind the facade.
What about you? Who are your G.O.A.T’s and do their virtues align with yours? Do you only admire them for what they have to sell, or do also stick around for what they have to give? What do they stand for and what do they have to say? It was a really interesting space that I explored in this episode as it all unfolded candidly.
Listen to the episode here – Please be sure to rate, review and subscribe to the show :)
I have four tucked away Malibu spots that I absolutely adore. Most of the time I go by myself with a book in my hand and a camera around my neck, and without fail, this really magical thing always seems to happen. As soon as I get out of my car, walk through the private houses (or as I like to call it, the row of inspiration) and enter the sand, everything just seems to disappear. It’s as if I have a front row seat to the Creators masterpiece, and it’s playing out right before my eyes.
I sit, I see, I think, I read, I walk around and I explore. I even spark up conversations with complete strangers. We chat and laugh and a lot of times they let me take a photo of them or they’ll point a camera at me. This is a place of positive energy and it’s where I go to plug in and recharge. I offer all of my worries and stresses to the ocean, and she gladly accepts.
The beach wasn’t always a magical place for me. I actually hate being in the sun and don’t like getting too dark (childhood trauma, kids used to make fun of me for my skin tone) but it started growing on me when I was trying find places that I wouldn’t mind going to by myself. Little by little it became a very special destination, and when my mom passed away it took on a whole new meaning. When I’m feeling sad or missing mom, there’s two places that my heart always leads me, to church and the beach – and to me, both are holy.