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.
Two creatives and a lawyer walk into a pizza joint in Silver Lake, and have one of the best artisanal dough-based gastronomy experiences of their lives. As soon as we entered the space, I felt like I got transported to somewhere in Europe that seemed familiar and yet brand new at the same time.
The vibe was moody, soothing and welcoming and I thought to myself – even if the food is subpar, the space is worthy of a revisit purely for the ambiance. I could see myself hanging out here, working from my laptop, reading a book and making new friends. Fortunately, and somewhat unsurprising, the pizza was just as enjoyably. As soon as our silver platters hit the table and we dove nose-deep into the first bite, it became extremely hard to focus on the conversations because the flavors demanded our full attention. Just thinking about it and writing this is putting my mouth in a salivating state.
The bro’s went for the non-vegan options that left their carnivorous neurotransmitters firing on all cylinders. I went for the only vegan offering that wasn’t sold out (yes, they sell out of pizza styles) and man was that thing ‘bussin’. You would think we were boy band trying to harmonize in the back with all of the “ooh’s” and “aaah’s” coming from our table. I try to practice portion control when I eat (especially if it’s late) but after the first bite I knew this pizza didn’t stand a chance of survival. RIP - Rapidly Ingesting Pizza
The ingredients were super fresh as if they were plucked right from the garden and gently placed onto the fermented sourdough before being slid into the brick fire oven as if it were being kissed by the sun. Overall this was an amazing night filled with laughs and deep conversations over equally amazing food, sounds and atmosphere. I was so impressed with this place I had to buy a memento from the night. My pizza was $25, the shirt was $45, the experience with the boy’s was priceless.
If you’re in the neighborhood, I highly recommend that you visit Grá.
Episode No.18 of the SS/OUND WAVES® Podcast just got release and guess what that means? I’ve already put out more episodes this year than I have in the past two years. I know this is a small victory, but it’s an accumulation of small victories that compound over time that result in us achieving our goals. Celebrate the small wins when you get ‘em and squeeze as much juice out of them as you can before reaching for another piece of fruit, because it’s better to savor the flavor than to chug and completely miss the taste.
There’s a lot of good parts in this conversation but one that really stood out to me was when we touched on making new friends, because this is something that I’ve been mindfully dabbling in lately. In my old life I was that popular dude with a camera and on any given day I could be found at my habitual watering-holes with friends all around me. These days I’m that guy with a book that’s usually sitting by myself at a coffee shop, and that’s been designed by choice. I really wanted to learn how to enjoy spending time with myself because it was something that was super challenging for me. I would always hear that shame inducing voice pop-up and say “only losers hangout alone. What’s wrong with you? You’re weird. Everyone is staring at you!” Little by little it started getting easier, and then it got fun, and now I absolutely love my solitude – almost to a fault.
I’m not saying that I currently I don’t have any friends, in fact I have a handful of great ones that really enhance my life, and visa-versa. But I do know that life is about carefully fostering and cultivating enriching relationships and I want to be a little more open to letting new high-caliber individuals in. But where does one find these spiritual sherpas that also like to guide people (especially themselves) to this enchanting place called, happiness?
Kendal, definitely opened my mind when she shared how she uses the buddy-system as a means of establishing contact and connection with like-minded humans.
Listen to the episode here – Please be sure to rate, review and subscribe to the show :)
I’ve noticed over the past eight months that something really beautiful happens when I mix my spiritual and creative experiences together on Sundays. I usually start my morning off at church and then kind of just go wherever the wind takes me. Sometimes it’s a coffee shop or beach or shopping or harbor and one time it was even a Nine Inch Nails show (don’t ask me how it happened, all I know is I said “yes”).
That’s the take away, being curious and saying yes to the things that come my way. Showing up and staying rooted in the present but also reminding myself to pull out my Yashica® T4 and grab a souvenir from the experience. In these moments it isn’t about capturing a ground-breaking photograph, it’s more so about taking a trinket home with me.
In this episode of the SS/OUND WAVES® Podcast I touch on the experience I had with rediscovering and reactivating this blog. I reflect on the scared little boy I was when I left, and the strong loving man I became when I returned.
I’ve found on this warriors journey of mine that the most fulfillment has come from the ability to love all of me, even the pieces that used to bring me shame, embarrassment or felt like they were unlovable. Accepting and celebrating all of me as equal parts has given me the propensity to repurpose my fear and turn it into faith. The facility to turn my old messes into my new messages and open up an undiscovered pathway to true creative freedom. Who you were isn’t who you have to be, and when you lean into your new story, you unlock all of your superpowers – you become your authentic self and an ambassador of love.
Listen to the episode here – Please be sure to rate, review and subscribe to the show :)
Summer is coming, and so are the new trucker hats. Adorned with the phrase that I’ve had on my Instagram bio for as long as I can remember, it felt fitting that this design be the first article of our upcoming SS©23 offerings. Built for the long haul and made from a foam front and mesh panels with an adjustable size strap. This baby is perfect for fun in the sun and will surely be your new favorite accessory this season.
I’ve been wearing and sharing the samples with the team and the response has been insane. I can’t tell you how many random people have asked me where they can get one. The amount of cashiers that are willing to give me their money rather than taking mine just so they could get their hands on this cranium cover always leaves me grabbing for my bags with a smile.
Stay tuned for a release date.