End of a Decade

When I think of the decade coming to a close I think how each year felt like a mountain to climb. In the photo above was a road trip I took with my boyfriend Gus, we traveled to Portland and it was there that we saw we could get along, and enjoy each others company for a long period of time. We joked about how now we can have a child, and that we should name it Portland. 2018, that child was born, and she’s been one of our greatest challenges and reward, and yes, we named her Portland.

Life is completely different, I am different. With that, have come new challenges, giving and taking care of the people I love.

I’m grateful for life, for the decade. For the people who I came across who were friends for a moment, for the co workers who challenged me, or made me laugh during those boring Mondays. For the boss who believed in my ability, for the pastors who took the time to ask about my personal life (even though I hated it I was always thankful for it) for the boyfriend who turned husband who loved me every single day, for the baby who smiles and cries for me, for Instagram friends who say hi who live across the world, for the childhood friends who want to hang out in real life, for my family who have become kinder as we get older together.

2010, was full of questions. 2019, I am living those answers. A new decade, is creating new questions, and I look forward to seeing those answers 2030 — but I can wait for that, for once in a my life, I am in no rush.

What I avoid is What I need to do

I’ve been avoiding gathering up my past work together to display a solid portfolio, I wonder if others have this same dilemma. A part of me doesn’t want to revisit my old work, my work has never felt good enough. I want to start all over, but how can you start 15 years over.

In design of any kind, there are trends, and I often followed them. I always tried to make my work look like everyone else, because I know that is what worked. I remember the struggle it was to complete each project, every project was full of its own battles. I often had to do some tricks and fixes in order to move on and start something new.

So now its time to be honest with myself, to sit back and see what I am good at, and put that in a demo reel. I love sharing people’s stories, but how do I do that in a 1 min demo reel. Demo reels are suppose to be flashy, and upbeat. I debate what to share and put together, cause I know that will be the type of work I will attract.

If there is anything I learned from my observation in my procrastination is create what I like, stop trying to be like everyone else, people just might like what I make.

What I avoided for years, its time to finally do, make something I like and not worrying what others will think about it- yes the point of a demo reel is to attract work, and my goal is to attract work I want to create. I no longer want to avoid what I need to do.

Day dreaming

One of my favorite things to do in grade school was to day dream. I enjoyed looking out the window, hearing the kids playing outside, while I made up movies in my head. I would usually get interrupted by the teacher before I could make it to the end of the plot.

As an eight year old girl, I was brainstorming screenplays, there was no budget to consider or any other limitations.

One of my favorite directors and filmmakers is Wes Anderson. I know he’s a popular director with a cult following, but for me he has always had this way of capturing how a child would see and understand the world. Each frame is full of color, interesting details, and camera movement to envy. I recently came across Wes Anderson’s book at the bookstore about how he developed and made his films. It’s full of beautiful behind the scene photos and interviews. It’s an expensive book so I keep going back to revisit and read it. His films have always had an effect on me that it’s possible to make a movie in my own style, he makes it look fun, creative and visually interesting. For the first time in years, I day dreamt a movie in my head. I am allowing myself to play movies directed by me in my head again. I thought of one today that I figured, why not write. As we get older the motivation to do anything is money, but when we were kids our motivation was fun.

Creating a story, drawing the thumbnails, day dreaming.. I don’t need a budget to do that, just pen and paper and a really good idea to play out.

Perspective in Time

Since I’ve been a stay home mom I’ve had extra time in between naps and taking care of the baby to go though my old footage that I’ve collected over time and start to edit them into videos. It’s something I always wanted to do, and I’m sure you have footage on your hard drive that “one day edit this.”

My one day has been now. Its strange to look at footage of me from 9 years ago. My insecurities scream off the camera, I remember feeling ugly because of my braces and my skin wasn’t photoshop clear. I was harsh to myself then and now a grown women I feel bad for her. I want to tell her “relax, things work out: your skin clears up, your braces come off and your smile is beautiful again.” I also remember at the time feeling like when I liked a boy he never really liked me back. Now I can see why, I wasn’t being myself, and I was being so uncomfortable in my own skin, it would make anyone want to stay away.

I also see the possibilities that were before me. I was careful with each direction I took. I always wanted to do the right thing and make the best decision possible. I was always afraid I was going to make the wrong decision, that sometimes I didn’t make one, which is making one: to do nothing. The risk I did take were thought out and careful. When it came to date someone I was always cautious, to the point the boy would give up and move on, which left only the ones who were serious.. or should I say the one who became the one. Future husband Gus.

We do the best we can when we are young, sometimes we make mistakes but I believe if we try to be deliberate with life, we’ll end up where we want to be.

I never took the time to edit this footage because I didn’t like how I came across, now I can see the story wasn’t about me but about an artist. After all, I traveled a few hundred miles to meet him, Leonard Knight.

You can watch my youtube episode about my journey to salvation mountain and also revisit the blog I wrote and photos I shared in 2010:

35mm film of Salvation Mountain

Journey to Salvation Mountain

A new phase

I’m in the phase of liking what I like no matter if no one else does. I am in the phase of no longer trying to make what everyone else is making. I am in the phase of trusting my creative judgement. When I was younger I went with my style and what I thought was cool. Somewhere along the way I started to follow the trends, and doubt myself. I know there is a balance to create what the market demands and what I think it wants.

When it comes to my youtube channel, I can’t help but let the view count effect my ability to create. I am making what no one is asking for, but a part of me know there is a community out there who is searching for it because
I am.

What is “it”? Well, I am trying to find that out for myself. First I have to let it develop inside of me. What a person makes is so connected to the person. I know we live in the template kinda world, where everyone can feel like a photographer or designer by just downloading an app. The hard work is, can you make something that is 100 percent your creation?

I think not having a job (well, not one that pays) has allowed me to lean towards what I naturally like, I am picking clothes that I would never wear to the office, more skater plus 90 grunge. I bought dye that is a color I had when I was 18 (haven’t had the guts to do it just yet..), I am listening to music from my past, and yes I’m sure every old person does this, but revisiting bands that had such an impact on me is helping me become more honest and myself. I am searching for a way to express what is taking place inside my creative mind and fashion and music has always helped lead me there.

As a mom and wife, I am trying to find my new self. I can’t spend the rest of my life missing the twenty something Monica. I want to love who I am right now. And I do.. just trying to find the new her thats all. Life has changed for me, I am too busy trying to keep a little human alive to worry if I am cool or not. So when it comes to the work I create, I have to tap into my creative style I developed over the years. Go with my instinct. I am also excited to see where my random ideas lead me.

Slowing down, when life give you an opportunity

Written and Photography by Monica Lopez / Model: Hannah Rangel

submitted piece to Bella Grace Magazine

It’s nice when you get a chance to stop and take life in, sometimes it can look like a set back; unemployment, or even an accomplishment; the day after graduating school, or sometimes it’s something beyond your control.

Last January, I wasn’t feeling well , I left work early to  see the doctor. After the medical check up the nurse walked in casually and said, “Congratulations, you’re pregnant”. I sat there trying to picture what my life would look like with a baby. I’ve always been a free spirit, traveling around the world, or spending all day at the office. My husband and I been married for two years, and we talked about having a baby all the time, he would warn me how much our life would change.


Every month I was psychically changing, and so was my life. I couldn’t move as fast as I once did, my productivity suffered as I slept most of the day. I could no longer focus reading, multitasking on my phone made me nauseated. I was forced to slow down.

The pace of my fast food, running out the door, grabbing a coffee  and climbing towards success  was on pause. Once my daughter was born my focus was on taking care of her. I was lucky if I was able to get out of the house. I no longer had the luxury of spending hours in front of the computer making things, the moment I would start a project she would wake up from her nap. When it was time to go back to work, I had the expectations life would go back to normal, but my normal no longer existed. I couldn’t help and feel my new purpose in life was to take care of my daughter. It’s a decision that every new mom has to make whether she wants to work or stay home with the baby. To my own surprise,  I made the decision to resign and be a full time mom.
After a few months at home, I started to see someone else in the mirror looking back at me.  I no longer had a title with a team to lead to make me feel special. My inbox was zero and days would go by without receiving a text messages.

I wondered what else could I do with this new pace of life. I now had time to give attention to the things I always said I’m too busy for. I started to ask myself questions; What do I enjoy doing? How can I help others? What do I want to do with my creativity?  For the first time in my adult life, I could use my skills of photography, and producing videos for the pure enjoyment.

When I would take my daughter to the park, I would take my camera with me and take photos of the trees.  I would film my daughter when my husband and I would take her out for walks and edit videos about her. When she was busy playing with her toys, I started to spend time writing on my blog.  After her bath, we would discover new stories as we read together. Because I was home all day and trying to save money I had to learn how to cook healthy food for my daughter and us. I also had to think of new things to do as entertainment now that I was on a written budget. I started to scrap book and document every month. I returned to my love of journaling and writing about the things I’ve learned.


My daughter gave me the gift of slowing down.  I was discovering how passionate I am about creativity and the role it plays in our health.


My life is completely different from a year ago. My daughter is growing so fast and I’m able to take the time to be with her, teaching and playing with her everyday. She is seeing the world for the first time and showing me how to the same. 

I needed to lose myself in order to start all over and rediscover who I now am. My younger self never thought this far, now that I am living it, I’m not sure where to go from here. My story isn’t done. Life has given me the opportunity to create adventures I haven’t even dreamt of.

——————-

Bellagrace is a magazine written by its readers. The magazine accepts articles and photography submissions so I wanted to adventure out and tell the story of my transition to a baby centered world while staying creative.

Behind the scenes photos:


How to Tell a Story with Your Work

An Introduction to Storytelling
The word STORY is a popular word and it can become confusing on what it is. I found when I learned how to tell a story did I see a difference in my work and it also made my work have meaning. Learn how to be a storyteller with your photography, editing, writing and connect with your audience. I share a few things I’ve learned about storytelling and how powerful it can be.
I’ve been learning so much about storytelling reading to my daughter classic childhood stories and seeing how she connects with the aventures she’s hearing about. Over the years I’ve made storytelling complicated but it can be quite simple.

Questions to ask yourself when developing your story

What is the story?

Who are the characters?

What happens?

How were they changed?

Questions to ask yourself when shaping the story

With the images combine what is your video saying?

Does your video make sense

Would moving things around make your video make more understandable, entertaining or interesting?

Story is about connecting to your audience?

Who is your audience?

“A story is not only what you have to say but how you say it. If content is cliche, the telling will be cliche. But if your vision is deep and original, your story design will be unique.” STORY by Robert McKee

 

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Things I regret buying for video

I can be a sucker when it comes to video equipment. The new product sounds like its going to bridge the gap between me and the next big opportunity. Many times video equipment can be over promising, taking your money and leaving you with useless junk.

1. Camera packages with accessories – they’re flashy and it seems easier to just buy everything all at once but instead it comes with a lot of useless accessories

2. Camera stabilizer – I found they are uncomfortable and not so fast to set up to use. I didn’t notice a difference with my camera stabilization enough to use it.

3. Portable Jib – The cheap plastic it’s made out of couldn’t take the weight of my camera even with counterweights.

4. Difficult lighting set up – the difficult soft boxes to put together made me permanently leave them up which took up a lot of room.

5. Cheap plastic lenses – your photos will never look sharp and professional until you invest in a glass lens.

6. Difficult to use Stock Library – having to download third-party apps and constantly login didn’t make it worth using the stock library.

7. Cheap headphones – being able to hear your audio clearly will help your videos be more professional. I’ve wasted money on cheap headphones and was sick of having audio problems so I invested in a good pair of headphones

Before you buy any more video / photography equipment, be sure to avoid the cheap path, it’s often said, “The poor man pays twice.”

Lessons from a baby

I’ve always been a person who tries to learn lessons from life around me. It’s probably years of Sunday school classes and trying to find the lesson in the Bible stories.

I just started feeding my daughter, Portland solid foods. It’s been fun seeing her facial reactions to different vegetables and fruit. Her first reaction is usually unsure if she likes the new taste, by the second bite she is smiling big and wants more fast. She often tries to grab the spoon and put more in her mouth by herself. She once was so excited, she grabbed the small cup I was feeding her from and tried to eat it. I laughed and said, “You can’t eat the whole thing at once!” When I said it, I stopped and laughed to myself, so that’s what I’m trying to do! When it comes to all the new dreams and ideas I’m having, I’m trying to do everything at once. For the past month, I’ve been enjoying being a mom full time and being creative on the side whenever I get the chance. I started writing more here and making YouTube videos weekly. As I’m pouring my extra time into these areas I’m waiting like… ok when is this going to pay off? In other words, I’m trying to eat the cup just like my little girl. It doesn’t work that way, it’s one small bite at a time.

From the moment I learned how to do graphic design all the way to graduating as an editor, I’ve intern and got hired to help other people build their vision. I didn’t mind, since at 22 I didn’t really have one myself. It’s easier to help others build theirs. When it comes to my dreams, I’m often changing my mind on how to go about it, or ask the question; is it worth the risk? Rediscovering my creativity and refining new dreams has become a process in which I am learning new things about myself.

I guess if anything, my daughter is teaching me to enjoy the experience of life.

Thank you to those who enjoy my post and liking them, I hope you are also learning with me new things about life and are encouraged.

My Top favorite books on Creativity

I want to introduce to you my top 3 books on creativity.  Reading about creativity will inspire you to use your talent on a daily basis, and teach you how to develop original ideas.  Here are my top 3 favorite books.
blog_imagine.jpgImagine by Jonah Lehrer talks about how creativity works. Every creative, even the creative geniuses, admit there is a process they go through to bringing their idea to life. “Once we learn how to creativity works we can make it work for us.”
He also has a chapter where he talks about outsider thinking. Sometimes when you’re younger, it’s easier to create because you don’t know enough to be an insider or an expert, due to ignorance there is a creative advantage. As we get more experience, we start to repeat ourself over and over again, “You must constantly try to forget what you already know.” Finding new challenges can help you approach things in a new way. This book was pulled from the shelves when parts of it were found to be fabricated, wish I knew what parts! 
blog_creativemark.jpgMaking your Creative Mark by Eric Maisel is second on the list. I found this book in San Francisco and read it throughout the trip . One thing I was struggling with at the time was how to be creative for myself and not just for someone who pays me.  After reading this book I was inspired to finally do YouTube, and leave a creative mark on the world.
This book acts like a manual for the creative journey, asking questions and giving practical steps. It was also comforting to hear stories from clients the author helped build their confidence when entering the market place. “You want to step out of the shadows and standing up for your work and your future”, “ your best life in the arts is dependent on your confidence level.”
blog_creativeincNext on the list is a book written by Pixar and Disney animation President Ed Catmull Creative inc. It was fun reading about how one of the most creative company’s function in creating animation films. He shares the genius of the company, the struggles of solving story problems and the hard process of making successful films. He gives you an inside look on what it’s like to work for a creative company, how they work hard to make life enjoyable for its employees. Steve Jobs was part of creating their office building, “everything about the place was assigned to encourage people to mingle and communicate to support our filmmaking..” One thing that stood out, Pixar was never afraid to admit what wasn’t working in their films and even in the office, they had open communication to call things out and to talk about it. We are invited to see how Pixar‘s creative culture with Pixar‘s braintrust- it’s a system for straight talk. They gather in a room and have them identify problems and encouraging them to be candid with one another. “As a creative we thrive when we work alone but an important skill to learn is how to work with other creative’s and other people in general how to make your idea come to life.” I read this at a time when I became leader of a department and it really help me create an environment for the team to create.

Preparation is Part of the Process

Sometimes it feels like the efforts we put into our personal work is useless and isn’t worth the time. If we were to calculate the hours we put into each project and see how much it’s costing us, it might cause us to give up. The only thing we know is that we love it and no one has to pay us to do it.

The pace of life can move so fast that we don’t have the time to prepare ourself. We hit record, or show up and rely on our past experience that we will know what to do next. But when is there time to study, read, and build? Be prepared for the opportunity to come is advice I’ve always taken to heart, but never really put it to action because I just didn’t have the time to. When do we have time to ask questions like, “What do you really want to do?” “What do you really want to make?””What impact on others do you want to have?”- let alone get them answered.

Now that I am at home with my daughter I am gifted with these open hours to do whatever I wish with my time while she sleeps. Because these moments can be 30 minutes to an hour, I have to use it wisely. For the first time in my creative life, I am able to work on work for myself. As I am taking the time to relearn a few things, research, read books that interest me, I am discovering new ideas and desires I never knew I had. When my daughter and I hang out at my local book store, I am noticing a pattern of what type of books I am picking up. Or when I work on youtube videos its allowing me for the first time to create for me. When I step back and see what all these things have in common. I can see clearly what it is I am passionate about. There is no job description for what it is I want to do, because it doesn’t exist.

I want to shout to the world all the things I am dreaming, but I know I have to invest time into my work before I can share anything. Every week I am showing up, putting in whatever hours I am able to. We hear these stories of how others are being successful, and I can’t help but wonder what the secret is. As I am pouring hours into my work, I am realizing it’s work. Preparing is part of the process, its what will make the difference between failure and success.

Yes I haven’t made any deposit into my back account, but I am pouring into my daughter, raising her, and when I get the chance pouring my creativity into myself. Building my dreams, hour by hour.

So I encourage you, whatever phase you are in, take sometime to prepare for what it is you really want to do. I’ve learned it doesn’t take hours like we use to do in school, but small breaks. Take the time to build something for yourself, your future self will thank you, and might even pay you.

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Make a gift for someone you love

 

One of the first things I created was a birthday card for my dad when I was a kid. I enjoyed the process of looking for a photo and putting everything together. I didn’t know what I was doing at the time was what graphic artist use to do before personal computers. I didn’t care about the label, I was making something special for my father on his birthday. 

I learned one way of discovering your creativity can be found when you make a gift for someone you love.  Taking the time to think of something special for them can spark creative ideas inside of you. I found a blank journal at the Goodwill and thought how I could transform this old journal into a gift for my mom. The more I brainstormed about it, the more excited I became about the project.

I decided to document it and to share it with you. I hope you are inspired to make something special for someone you love. And who knows, you might just discover a new piece of your creativity you didn’t even know existed.

Discovering your creative gift

The first episode in 2019 I share about the new series I want to create for my channel, Discoving your creativity. I ask an important question, what did you use to do for play time as a child? The answer might lead you to find out what you creative gift is. I share a few ways I was able to discover my love for making videos and interviewing people. 
Join me in this new series of mine where I focus on discovering the creativity inside you. Be sure to share your journey with me at my new instagram @monicalopezpro where I share everything I am creating in one spot. Subscribe to my youtube channel : https://www.youtube.com/moniemuse

Life update as Parents

She came a month early, and some how I knew she would. We were on vacation when my water broke. I had taken the weekend off from work. I wondered what would have happened if I was in the control room and my water broke, who would take me to the hospital? Who would take over? I was lucky I had my husband with me. He drove me and talked to the nurses. It was hard to believe that we would leave this place with a baby. For years all we never knew was each other, and now we were going to have a combined person that has both of our DNA.

The baby had to pass a series of test before she was able to come home with me. I knew in my heart she was going to be okay, from the moment I prayed I wanted a child early 2017, I knew God was going to help me through every stage.

Now I write this at home, and she is six months taking her nap. A lot has happened since the first ride home from the hospital, sleepless night, arguments about if she is getting enough milk or how much should we feed her with everyone who came in contact with us. To this day, she is nursed and I wonder if she is getting enough milk, and some how she keeps growing. She is a miracle, and now that I think about it, we are all miracles. How did we make it this far?

I daily think about my own parents. I now remember moments of stress when they made a decision that would impact our lives. I remember my mom saying in faith when they wanted to buy a house, and my dad giving her a look like I’m not sure if I can do this for you. I remember seeing a house news clipping in her bible, and her telling me, “one day we will live in a house like this.” For me, it was easy to believe her. I had the child like faith, and I believed everything my mom told me. When we finally moved in to a house, I took it for granted how easy it all was.

And now its my turn to walk in faith for the sake of my husband and my daughter. Though she is just a baby, she is watching me. I pray with her the moments I get scared of the great unknown.
Last week was my last day at work. I have jumped all in to motherhood, the reality is that I did what I knew needed to be done. I needed to be with my daughter and raise her. I wanted her for so long, and now that she is here, it was time to embrace the gift I was given.
A part of me misses working and I know I will make videos still, but now the safety net is no longer there. I guess now the net I will fall into is God’s loving arms.

Today I read in the Bible when Mary told Jesus to do something when the wine had ran out at the wedding they were attending. Jesus told his mom the time had not yet come but she insisted and told the wedding servants to listen to everything Jesus tells them. He told the servants to fill the jars with water, when they poured the water for the guest it became wine. It made me think about my situation. I know God has spoken to my heart to be home with my daughter, but it doesn’t help I am worried we will no longer have wine in our jars. God is asking me to listen to everything Jesus commands, and that means to bring my water of jars to him, its His job to turn my water into wine.

Guess its time to start putting water in my jar labeled blog 🙂

Top 5 Favorite Storytelling books

I’ve been a student of storytelling ever since I became an editor. I’ve come across a lot of different books through out the year and there are about five of them that have deeply influenced how I tell story through my videos. I’ve written on my blog quotes from the books and why these books have such an impact on my life and the work I create.

Here are my top 5 favorite books about how to tell a story.

1. Story by Robert McKee

Link to Blogpostimg_69001

We all have stories inside us and sometimes sharing them takes courage and honesty. There is no telling the power a story can have on the listener.

2. In the Blink of an Eye by Walter Murch

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Link to Blogpost

“What they finally remember is not the editing, not the camera work, not the performances, not even the story-it’s how they felt.”

3. The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film by Micheal Ondaatje

Link to Blogpost6967367774_9f58eff285_z

“Every shot is a thought or a series of thoughts, expressed visually. When a thought begins to run out of steam, that the point at which you cut.”

4. Imagine How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

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“There’s no such thing as a creative type. As if creative people can just show up and make stuff up. As if it were that easy. I think people need to be reminded that creativity is a verb, a very time-consuming verb. It’s about taking an idea in your head, and transforming that idea into something real. And that’s always going to be a long and difficult process. If you’re doing it right, it’s going to feel like work.” – Milton Glaser, graphic designer, creator of “I (heart) NY”

5. Writing Television Sitcoms by Evan S. Smith

Link to Blogpostimg_5657

Learning how many times a script is re-written before they go in production help me at work prepare to share drafts with other. Feed back is gold! I’ve always been the artist that would say, “Don’t look, its not done!” When I started to ask my co-workers to view my work and tell me what they think I would get very insightful help. Usually they would pin point what wasn’t working.

 

The Ultimate Creation

It’s interesting to have a dream and then one day your wish becomes a reality. As a little girl raised in the 80’s gender roles were still traditional. My dad worked and my mom stayed at home with my sisters and I. My first toy was a doll, and from age three I couldn’t wait to become a mother myself.

As I grew up my goals changed to create videos and travel the world. Every time I boarded an airplane I always felt successful . As I explored each new city, I felt alive discovering new cultures and meeting new people. It wasn’t until after I quit my job to travel the world did I finally start to ask my self the deep questions about my life purpose. My prayer was, “God where do you want me?” Leading my own life and doing whatever I wanted was leaving me feel empty.

When I returned back to work I decided I would start committing, first was to a job and second was to a boy who had been chasing me; Gus. Soon I discovered the gift of commitment, I was able to develop roots and discover the rewards of giving of myself.

The love I received from opening my heart to Gus was priceless. The amount of leadership skills I was developing at work was rewarding. Both came with sacrifice of self, and allowing life and God to grow me.

Now I am walking into a new era of life. Being a mom. Once I found out I was pregnant, there was no going back, this is what I wanted since I was three and now it was time to become a mom of a child. I started to imagine what Mary, the mother of Jesus went through. She was on the run, 9 months pregnant ridding on a donkey. Then I thought of my own mom, what she must have went though. Then I thought of my friend who was only 18 when she told me she was pregnant. It was like for the first time my mind and heart was seeing what these women had to go through, they were full of courage to walk toward the ultimate gift of being a woman; motherhood.

As my body is preparing to hold a life inside its self, my heart is opening. I am now part of this new club called being a mom. I admit I never really gave them must credit, I mean we all hear how its hard, but its not just hard, its also so giving. Heart – soul – life – body.

Throwing up and having morning sickness, Gus told me our kid will never know what I went through in order to have them. I know they won’t get it right away, but one day when they have kids.. they’ll finally get it. On to the ultimate creation; life of a human .

Why I created a Youtube Channel

When I decided to stop daydreaming about what I would do if I had a youtube channel, it was hard to bring clarity on the reason why. We hear of the possibility of money and fame, but that can’t be my motivation, just thinking of that sucks my creativity.  I needed a deeper reason…

To keep or delete my blog?

2017 for me was all about asking myself what was important to my life. As I went through the year, I began to element things that were distracting me. Time seem to be passing me by and my daydreams were becoming ghost haunting me. I felt powerless and because of that my creativity suffered. I found myself making the same type of work, using all my tricks and short cuts. I became bored at my own creativity. When I would try and blog, it was like like hitting a block every time. I felt like I no longer had anything to share.

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I was sick of reading inspirational books, and hearing, “You can become a better you” and “Be yourself.” (Which one is it?) When I went on a trip to San Francisco I found this book about leaving your creative mark on the world. Everything that was shared I had heard a hundred times, but this time because I heard it so much I finally stopped reading and asked myself, “Are you finally going to move and make something or are you just going to keep on reading about it.”

I was getting annoyed that I wasn’t acting on my ideas. I knew if I allowed this to pass me by, I would allow the next idea to leave, and doing so, would create this horrible cycle of killing my creativity.

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As a kid, I was shy in front of strangers. At home I was alive, laughing, and enjoyed making my family laugh. The moment a stranger walked into the room, I would stop and disappear. I thought they would think I was crazy or strange. It wasn’t until I saw my uncle who had a hard life, laughed at my 4th of July skit when I was 8. I realized making people smile and happy for a moment, was rewarding. When my uncle passed years later, his laugh came to my memory, and to this day I can still remember it.

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Ever since I saw I was able to make my uncle laugh,  I knew I had a gift I could share with the world.

Today, I create work  for a living that moves and inspires others, but with the ability to hind.

Finally, I decided to act on my daydream and create a youtube channel. I had officially ran out of excuses. It wasn’t easy getting in front of the camera and talking. In fact, I filmed myself three times before I posted a video. Creating videos for other people I knew how to capture their voice, but my own I found it more difficult to navigate through. Can I be myself on my channel? Can I talk about God? Can I share the hard times? Can I just share what I’m thinking? I’m still figuring out my voice but find as each passing episode, I am getting better at sharing my true self.

I know I don’t blog as much, doesn’t seem like anyone reads this anymore, but for those of you who do, I will keep writing for you. The new medium is youtube, its where people are listening and searching. I debated if I should keep my blog or just do away with it. But as I am writing now and sharing with you, this blog might be good to share my thoughts behind the scenes. Is it worth $40 dollars to renew? haha.

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Traveling to New York City

New York City, its the place everyone wants to be, its the place where it feels like everyone lives. Walking on the crowed side walks, navigating through the traffic, the city is the world’s runway of the world. This is the place where people have fun with their public self, they become who they always dreamt of becoming.

The buildings, themselves inspire us that anything is possible. Every landmark has a story, and sometimes they require deep respect, like the two World Trade Center fountains. The place was filled with people from every nation, it has now become a hub for humanity to be united.

The last time I came to New York was seven years ago. Nothing seemed familiar to me, it was like I was seeing the city for the first time. The last time I was here my life was so different, I was different. Walking the city with my husband, it reminded me of how life can surprise you.

I always dreamt to live in the big city, work in media for fashion or film. I’ve always identified with Felicity, a tv show that aired when I was in high school. I loved that she got up and left to a new city and created a whole new life for herself. Watching her life, she taught me how I can live an adventures life. It’s by making a decision to do what your heart is telling you – regardless bank account or logic. Taking those steps of faith to do what you really want to do, and all you need is an excuse like Felicity following her crush. My city was Sydney and I left to leave my past behind me. I am glad I pushed myself to live that experience, I found peace following where God was leading me. It set me up for the next chapter of my life.

My favorite part when when we went to watch a movie in the park. It was amazing at how easy it was to show up and suddenly become a New Yorker. We ordered food, talk to people in line, found a spot to sit and show famous people walking around (of course, too cool to notice.) As the sunset, my high school self was speechless. “Monica, you are in New York, and sitting next to you is your husband.” Gus had no idea what a special moment this was for me. He sat watching the movie laughing at the cartoons they were showing. If my life were a movie, and it involved a story line with time travel, my character would travel to this moment.

The city had us walking everywhere, learning how to work the subway, and sitting next to strangers. It was exciting to see what would happen each day, we loved overhearing conversations…New Yorkers tend to yell when they are talking.

We kept asking ourselves, “Would we move here?” We never really said yes or no, I think Gus and I are always open for an adventure, our work has always been the most important thing to us, so if the work were to lead us to the big city, I’m sure we would jump at the chance. One thing we will miss, taking the subway everywhere.

As I was sharing photos on Instagram, I knew what it looked like – my life is perfect. Just weeks before I had to face a few battles that if I didn’t pay attention to, it would defeat me. I look at our smiling photos, and know behind the smiles are two people who are fighters – inside and out. No matter where life takes us, together we will sit together. My adult life didn’t take me to New York. but its taken me to a place with love and hope, and for that I am thankful.

 

Travel to New Orleans

The beginning of a new journey requires an openness to expect the unexpected. What fun would it be if all answers were given to you. My greatest desire is to see a new world, to meet strangers that can become friends. The art of travel isn’t having the perfect irtenery, its in the moments of getting lost and the random moment I discover something new. It’s creating memories that will return to me and take home that make travel worth it all.

When we take the time to learn another’s journey and see the battle fields with our own eye, that generations after are still fighting. Their stories open our hearts and now have a name and a face to stories that were told to us growing up.

The company of friends, the connections we grow as we walk the city, drive the highway and fly through the clouds, together we make everywhere we go, home.

New Orleans is alive and well. History happened here, and the community’s will to overcome has once again made the city come to life. Its a place where strangers work together to create music, to sing above the hardships many had to face through out history. The ghost of the past haunt the streets, but its the life of the present that brightens up each street corner. If you stop to smile, you will receive a smile back. We walked the fields of slaves, visited a house of slaves owners, and felt the aches of hearts broken at the cost of profits. It was the sight I saw the day before we left that help me process history’s ugly past,  there in front of me was a couple who was black and white ridding bikes together along the Mississippi River. I am fortunate to be part of history, for I myself am free to travel the world to see the stories of others unfold before me.