A Little Bit About...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Josh Verduzco

My friend Josh Verduzco took some awesome pictures of me in the winter for Olivia's scholars promotion.

I think you can tell it's winter because of how soft the light is. This was shot in the evening right before the sun goes down, around 6pm. I don't miss those days, I am loving these long summer days.

Josh Verduzco is awesome, by the way, because he let me live on his couch for two weeks when I first moved to Austin. His tiny, amazingly uncomfortable loveseat. And my car was my closet. It was exciting times! So give it up for JV, he's the best.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

On moving.

I live six hours away from home, which is of course Norman, Oklahoma. It's just far enough away to be completely different and close enough for my friends to drive down and visit me for the weekend. They always say they wish they could move here. Austin is somewhat of an American paradise, I think, and I think everyone else is realizing that too. Or maybe that New City High hasn't worn off of me yet. The truth is that anyone CAN move here, anyone can move anywhere they want. It's a matter of priorities. I took a pay cut to move here, but the difference is made up with all the things I can do here that I can't do back home: go jump in Barton Springs, kayak Lake Travis, go on weekly bike rides with the social cycling scene. It is true that life is what you make it, and that you can be just as happy in one place as you can be in another, but the environment around you can stimulate you in a direction. And for me, personally, Austin is the best idea I've ever had in my entire adult life.

I've made a lot of decisions when at the time I honestly was not sure if it was the right decision or not, but stubbornness and pride carried me through to the complete execution of my decision. Going to hair school and moving to Georgia for art school both fall in this category. As it turned out, attending barber college was another bright idea, as it has thus far supplied me with a career and enough money to live on, as well as introduced me to some of the most amazing people. The art school decision, however, I have been struggling with. It has been a long, whiney road to come to grips with my post-college life, with my new found and seemingly pointless debt to pay off student loans for schooling that still hasn't landed me a job. But then I realized something the other day, when I was in the middle of being mad at my expensive degree and the fact that I still don't have a job in my field: it's not my pricey schooling's fault I don't have an artistic job, it's mine. I have to be my own boss and create my own title. Become CEO of my own life.

And art school was worth it, in spite of the student loan debt, because it taught me the importance of time management and the basics of art and design, and much like hair school introduced me to some of the most amazingly talented people I've ever come across. It also taught me how to live on practically nothing pretty comfortably.

I have been inspired. I have fully realized that life is what I make it, and if I want to make money on my art then I am going to have to hustle. So that's what I've been doing; busting my ass to make extra money so I can invest more towards a future that ensures I am getting paid to create. Which brings me back around to my original point, that moving to Austin is one of the best ideas I've ever had, because moving here made me realize that I do have enough ambition and talent to do more than just survive. I might even be able to flourish. Without the confidence that moving here has given me, I'm not sure I would be able to make it as an artist. I would have settled into a familiar, comfortable life as a hairstylist in Norman, Oklahoma and continued to paint as a hobby. Not that there is anything at all wrong with that, I do firmly believe you can be just as happy being in one place as the next.

After all, life is what you make it.

sidenote: I do want to kind of delve into all the reasons I love Austin but I already feel really braggy so I'll save it for another day...but just to summarize: 1. best shape of my life 2. awesome people 3. beautiful 4. barton springs/greenbelt/lake travis ok ok I'm done....

sidenote2: this is also my subtle way of trying to get all my friends to move down here, already.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May is Bike Month!

For all you crazy motorists out there....

My regimen

I kind of vaguely posted back in January that my new year's resolution was to not get sick this year. Well, it's a lot more complicated than that. I'm attempting to take my health and well-being a lot more seriously than I ever have before because the older I get the more I realize that these are my best years, and if I want to have many more amazing years ahead of me it's important to take my body seriously. I know that frame of mind may come naturally to a lot of people but it's honestly taken me years to get here. In my early twenties I used and abused my body and when I think about my lifestyle now compared to then, the difference is vast. I used to smoke two packs a day, eat nothing but Lean Cuisine, take anti-depressants, never work out, and drink like a fish. Now, I'm three years off cigarettes, cook most my meals, take multi-vitamins, exercise regularly, and drink rarely.

So far this year the only issues I've had with my health have been allergy-related, and I'm afraid where I live it's next to impossible to avoid some kind of allergies. Apparently cedar, hickory, and willow do bad things to me.

But aside from allergies, I've avoided sickness altogether and I'm pretty sure it's a lifestyle thing, considering how often I used to get sick in my early twenties. For me, my health is broken down into categories of fitness, food, supplements, and mental and emotional well-being.

I run three times a week, sometimes outside and sometimes on the elliptical machine (depending on my allergies) for 45 minutes, followed up by several repetitions with small weights for toning.
I do yoga at least twice a week, one "kick-my-ass" class (usually Ashtanga Yoga at the Y) and one Hatha Yoga for stretching. I'm also about to start taking this class at Black Swan Yoga called Sweaty Yoga, where they do yoga in a really hot room so you basically detox the entire time. Black Swan is donation-based, so you just pay what you can. I'm going on my next day off, I can't wait!
I also ride my bike, duh, about forty miles a week I'd guess. I do two social rides a week, one on Wednesday night called the ladies ride, put together by the awesome people at Fast Folks Cyclery, and another one Thursday nights called the Skellies Ride. The Skellies crew is full of amazing people who are quickly becoming some of my favorite people to chill with.
And now that it's getting warmer here in Austin, I am incorporating swimming at Barton Creek into my schedule. There's a free swim from 8-9 every night, so I'm definitely hitting that up.
I'm hoping to get more into hiking and climbing one I obtain all the appropriate gear necessary.
Something I started getting into, thanks to Josh Verduzco, a very talented Austin photographer and close friend of mine, is tightrope walking. He has a zipline tied up between two trees at his house, and it's a lot harder than I thought it would be to stay up on that sucker. It really engages your core and tests your balance. Twenty minutes on that thing and I was sweating like a pig. It's fun!

If you haven't already, I highly recommend watching Food Inc. Because of that movie I stopped buying overly processed food (ahem, Lean Cuisine), and for a long time I only bought my meat from Native Roots Market (back when I lived in Oklahoma) because I wanted to know exactly where my meat was coming from. Unfortunately my morals and my wallet do not always agree with each other and I get my meat from HEB now, but that movie pretty much captures my whole food philosophy.
My diet is pretty much this: a banana, yogurt, and juice for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and a meat, grain, and a green for dinner. For snacks I munch on pickles, almonds, carrots, or fruit. I let myself eat as much fruits, vegetables and juice as I want. I figured out the perfect salad design: any dried fruit + any nut + any crumbled cheese + whatever dressing = the perfect salad. For example today I had dried cherries, pistachios, crumbled blue cheese and strawberry vinaigrette on a bed of baby springs...to die for. I'm pretty sure you can use any combination and it will still taste amazing.
I eat meat for the protein, and up until recently I only ate turkey and chicken. But since moving to Austin I've ventured out and started eating PORKCHOPS. Wow. Maybe someday I'll even try steak. I actually had a barbacoa taco a few months ago but it made me sick. Then I found out it was from the cheek of a cow, and I wanted to die. Little by little.
Also, I drink a lot of water, try to limit myself to one cup of coffee a day (not easily achieved sometimes, I must say, I freaking love coffee), and when allergies are bad, tea with locally-made honey. It helps, I swear! Something about the locality of the bees combating the local allergies. Plus tea is awesome, but I drink a lot more of it in the winter than the summer.

I take a multi-vitamin for women and a calcium supplement because it's supposed to help ease cramps in your muscles, and my feet are always cramping up. The potassium from my daily banana is supposed to help with cramps as well, as well as lots of water.


This is so small and so minor, but instead of watching TV until I pass out at night, I started putting ambient music on and reading until I fall asleep. I'm currently reading Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernières. It's a Turkish novel and it's very good so far, I'm about halfway done. I'm going to read What Is he What by Dave Eggers next.

I had a conversation with my sister's husband on Easter Sunday I found interesting. He said he only has two people he could call his close friends, that he could count on and tell anything to. Maybe it's because he's older, and has a full life of kids and family and work to tend to, and because I'm younger and single have more time on my hands, but I really think I have at least 8 best friends that I can tell anything to and rely on for anything. I find that by doing all the aforementioned things and spending my spare time with my friends and family, that emotional fulfillment follows, without having to spend too much time trying to be happy, because I just am. I am constantly focused on how fortunate I am to have the amazing friends and family and life that I do.

I may not have much money, but I am very rich, and live a rich life.