Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Reflection on Project Life 365 2013

Around this time last year I randomly decided to do a 365 photo journey. I had no idea what I was getting into. I just did it. I took a picture and uploaded it on January 1st and started this photo a day journey. What I didn't realize was how much this project would help me grow as an artist and human.

I started the project to hone my photography skills and document daily life. I was feeling down about the last few years and I needed something to change. I had so much creative energy but I just never knew how to use any of it. Project life gave me the opportunity to explore the world within me and the world around me in a spiritual and creative way.

Now that I look back I'm not sure what got into me. I was just really excited to create and that energy propelled me forward. Even though I was forced to put msyelf out there everyday, I just didn't care. Sort of like those kids that ski past you on the hill. They have this fearlessness that is just so amazing. This is actually a good time for me to write this to remind myself to be more fearless this year :)

I think the coolest thing this project taught me was how to just keep going. Sometimes the picture would be complete crap but I still had to put it up. Not everyday was perfect but I was learning consistency. Now this didn't mean I never missed a day. I went through quite a few breakdowns here and there where I just didn't want to post. Life would get in the way, and excuses would creep there way in. Something would always compel me to keep going and I'm glad that I did. Looking back I'm happy I had those moments of weakness because it taught me how to fall and get right back up again. Isn't that how we all learned how to walk anyways!?! Failing is not nearly as scary to me anymore. I feel like if you're not failing, you're not doing. I think sometimes we give up too soon. If I had given up on project life at any of those moments, I would never have created some of my favorite images of project life.

I also really loved connecting with nature and my surroundings. It really made me feel blessed to be a part of such a beautiful world. I felt like for the first time I really LIVED through each season. I captured landscapes, flowers, trees, sunsets, skies and creatures. I was able to capture the emotion I felt in those moments through a photo. It was a way for me to explore the stages of life, of birth and decay.

Being a part of project life also helped me know what it was like to be a part of a supportive, creative, community. I found project life through a photographer I follow Elizabeth Messina (she's amazing). I would see her tag images as #projectlife365 and it got me curious. I started using the projectlife365 hashtag and all these people started liking my images on instagram. I then realized that people all over the world were doing their own project life journey through an organization called Project Life 365. It was organized into themes each day where you would tag the images and share. Each day project life would feature a few images based on the theme. I didn't always follow the theme but I enjoyed the challenge and did it often. I was featured five times by project life which was amazing, but it was really just icing on the cake for me. The thing I appreciated most was all the loving feedback and support from everyone who liked and commented on my images through both facebook, and instagram. It meant so much to me. It helped me keep going, it helped me be better and I felt like I was a part of something much greater than me. That's one reason I'm thankful for the world wide web! It brings people from different walks of life, with a common interest, together.

Finally, it helped me grow as an artist. I got to use all those stored up ideas in my head. It would force me to get out there and JUST DO IT! I didn't know how the picture would turn out but I had to show up and create. It forced me to think outside the box with certain themes. It forced me to carry my camera everywhere and take pictures all the time. I took sooo many pictures. I got used to using my camera quickly, experimented more with lenses, and with light and colors. I also took a whole lot of self-portraits!! Those were my favorite because I could express myself through color, makeup, fashion and my moods. I ended up creating an ongoing exploration of self through self-portraits called Project Introspection. You can check that out on my website here. Looking back, it's amazing to see how much I've grown as a photographer.

I would like to say to anyone out there that feels discouraged by life and it's hardships, you don't need the next diet or new dress to make you feel better. All you need is to look within. Have the strength to see the things you would like to change and take steps towards changing them. Don't be hard on yourself, habits take time to form. There is nothing you're not capable of learning to do. Don't let fear or failure stop you from being the best version of yourself. There is so much beauty out there and in YOU waiting to be discovered <3

"Don't be fooled by your emptiness..there's so much more room for happiness." Kaskade

These were some of my favorites from the year in a short clip. Music: Room for Happiness (Kaskade's ICE Mix) [feat. Skylar Grey]

So what's next??... A world of possibilities awaits....and I welcome the beauty, the breakdowns, and every lesson learned in between.

All my love,

P.S. I totally recommend any type of 30 day challenge or yearly challenge to anyone wanting to try something new. Pushing yourself with small projects is fun and rewarding. If you're interested in doing a photo a day 365 project I would check out @my_365 on instagram. Unfortunately project life 365 has retired and stopped doing the prompts :(

Thursday, January 23, 2014

She Who Tells A Story Museum of Fine Arts Boston

She who tells a story is an exhibit that gives meaning to the phrase "pictures can speak a thousand words". That through art the unspoken can be spoken, the silenced are given voices, and stories are brought to life in the most poetic and touching of forms. I was so impressed with this exhibit. I'm always impressed when women create art. It's a voice I feel doesn't get heard enough. I think every single woman has a story to share, through her own unique experiences in life.

I went to see this exhibit on two occasions. The first with my dear friend Maria, the founder of a very beautiful non-profit Found in Translation (shameless plug) and the second when I went back to see the Hippie Chic exhibit and stopped by again to get one last glimpse. I had some mixed feelings about it the first time and second time I was just absolutely in love. Sadly it's no longer being shown at the MFA in Boston but the exhibit will be traveling to different places across the world. Pictured below is some of the pieces that caught my eye.

Featured artists throughout this post in the order they are shown.
Shadi Ghadirian - Untitled
Lalla Assia Essaydi, Bullet Revisited
Shirin Neshat- Mystified
Rania Matar


When you go to see any type of art, sometimes you have to take off your cap of judgement and leave it at the door to fully take in the experience. As I walked through taking in the images, many of the more political pieces relating to veiled women made me feel sad and angry. Limitations and restrictions on women just really, really bother me. Oppression in any form, being social, political or religious should not be tolerated anywhere and in any form. Other pieces made me reflect on war and how it changes society and the life of the common person.  Lalla Assaydi's piece called bullet showed the "exotic" middle eastern woman adorned with what looks like sequence, but upon further inspection are actually bullets. It touches on the idea of women often being the victims during times of war.

The piece I connected to most was Rania Matar's series of middle eastern girls in their rooms. She hit the nail on the head in my opinion. I can relate to the complexities of being a middle eastern, Muslim, woman in the US and the constant push and pull to conform from two extremes. The feeling that you never quite belong. I think that's what the rooms represent to me. The space where they can just be themselves whatever that encompasses. I also studied sociology in college and did my senior work on the identity of Muslim youth in America so this stuff is always sooo interesting to me.

Overall, I really enjoyed the exhibit. Each piece stirred my thoughts, and made me reflect. I think when art does that, it has done it's job. I hope that it brought another view of the middle east and it's women who are often depicted as "oppressed" and voiceless. These women, and many that I encounter in my personal life, are bold, courageous, and have important things to say about the state of women and the world. I was blown away by the level of artistic expression and it has inspired my own work in many ways. It was just one of those exhibits that gave me goosebumps!

If you're wanting to get more of an idea of the show from he perspective of the artists, I also enjoyed reading this article:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Modest Street Fashion by Langston Hues


In 2013 I was also able to be a part of a project called Modest Street Fashion, created by a super talented photographer Langston Hues from Michigan. He's going around the world documenting the ever growing modest fashion scene and creating a book that will be released in late 2014. You can check out and follow his adventures on the website, facebook and instagram! I'm such a big fan of his work and this project! I was honored to be a part of it and so grateful for the warm response to my photo from people all over the world!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Hippie Chic MFA Boston Exhibit

hippiechic copy

I visited the Museum of Fine Arts Boston a while back for the exhibit Hippie Chic. As someone who has always connected with the hippie era, I was excited to go check it out. As I expected, I was like a kid in a candy shop! The display of colors and textures in the clothing was beyond gorgeous. That, along with the wallpaper and decor really made it so you felt as if you were stepping into a hippie wonderland. They had everything divided into "types" of hippies ranging from crafty, to trippy, to retro and ethnic.


My favorite was definitely the ethnic hippie! I wanted every one of those dresses! The trip confirmed my relation to hippies is in fact very REAL, minus the drugs! I was really into the head gear as well ;) Specifically the flower crowns and turbans. I think I'm a blend of crafty, ethnic, and retro. Are any of you hippies? How would you categorize your hippieness?? 

I think today's fashion is in a way another hippie type of era with the borrowing of thrift and vintage styles, the rise in DIY fashion/accessories, and the overall experimentation that is happening these days. It's an exciting time in fashion!

Peace, love, and happiness,

Thursday, January 9, 2014


These are some snipets from our night in Nantucket, MA. Anthony had a show with the talented Eve Costarelli (flamenco dancer/youth teacher) for art week. I was able to come along and spend a night/afternoon there. We had a great time with Eve and her husband the first day attending the show and then getting dinner afterwards. The next morning we had breakfast and visited the different shops around.

I wasn't really expecing much from it but I was pleasantly surprised that I did actually like our little stay on the island. The people were friendly, the place we stayed in had so much character, and we enjoyed the different art studios that were exhibiting work. I was so excited to find a photo exhibit happening with images by Steve McCurry, who is well known for the "Aphgan girl" image he did for national geographic. I just googled him and saw this quote which I wanted to share, “If you wait,” he realized, “people will forget your camera and the soul will drift up into view.” How beautiful, right?!

There weren't many options for food, and most of it was wayyy overpriced but we did find a gem of a place for breakfast! It's called Black Eyed Susan's and I would say if you're visiting that is a must eat at place! It was packed and a bit of a wait but it was worth it. We had a Thai omelet  and some cheese-y pancakes. The stuff will put you in the hospital if you eat it everyday but it was a nice vacation meal.

There happened to be a huge sale going on where everything was half off and we found some cute thrift stores and a Tibetan shop where I picked up some goodies for really cheap! The scarf was thrifted and the sandals and necklace were from the Tibetan shop. Anthony was sweet to get them for me :) The necklace is my favveee, I just love ethnic jewelry!!

I know this is sooo late to post but hopefully it brings some sunshine during this yuck winter weather!