Wow!! Hard to believe it's been over a year since I posted in here! I need to get back to regular blog posts.
I wanted to share the latest Livin' the MAD Life purse collection featuring my cityscape paintings. This is my favorite purse collection so far, I just love everything about it! The handbag style with the gold rivets is classy and works for day or night and features some of my favorite cities, including two of Miami, my home and favorite city.
do It's funny thinking back to when I was a wild bush kid growing up in Alaska and how I would love to go to my grandmas and watch Miami Vice, my favorite show as a kid. I dreamed of one day living in Miami, and two years ago I made that dream come true, even having lived in Florida for over 20 years, it never was Miami. Back to the Alaskan bush kid...all my siblings and the neighboring village kids would always tease me and call my "city girl", hahaha! At the time, I would get so mad, because I was the ultimate tomboy and could anything as well, or better than, any of the boys, so to be called a city girl, was the ultimate insult. But, here I am in one of the biggest, most happening cities on the planet and I feel right at home here. I've found a way to balance my love of the outdoors with city life and get the best of both worlds.
Click HERE to view the whole collection
It's my Birthday today! And for this entire week I'm offering some unique Circle of Life paintings at reduced prices as a thank you to my fans and collectors for following me and my art for so many years, I am truly blessed to follow my passion and make a fulfilling career from it. You can see all of the paintings as they become available on the Mini PoP Monday page. And I wouldn't be able to do it without all of you, so thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will also be donating 20% of all proceeds from original paintings sold this week to No More Tears, a Miami based charitable foundation that is devoted to providing individualized assistance to victims of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence in the U.S.
As a survivor of domestic abuse it is important to me to be able to give back and help other women who are in a similar situation as I was and be able to be free and live the life they truly deserve. I hope I can inspire other women to know that there IS a better life for them free from abuse and fear. This past year has been the best year of my life, I'm living my dreams, painting full time, building a new business, traveling and riding and racing my mountain bike, my second passion. I feel like I'm finally able to be myself after decades of being repressed, and fear governing everything I did and said, but no longer! This year has been filled with growth, change, revelations, and new beginnings. I wake up every day thankful and blessed, motivated to chase after my dreams and create new ones, and hopefully inspire others to do the same.
This coming year is going to be even more amazing, I can feel it! I started a new business venture with my amazing daughter Aroon to create luxury, vegan purses from my art. You can see the current bags available at www.livinthemadlife.com and we release new collections every quarter to offer artistically beautiful purses for you to show your love and zest for life in a uniquely special way through art and sustainable fashion. This brand also donates a portion of all proceeds to both No More Tears and The Talkin' Monkeys Project. Giving back is a crucial part of my new life, whether it's by supporting charities close to my heart, or helping to inspire other women to live their best lives.
I've also become much more involved with my biking, and have some great events coming up soon that tie in with my art, it just doesn't get any better than that for me! My biking has been my saving grace this past year, it allows me to leave any worries behind and just be outdoors and focus in the moment. I've also met so many wonderful and amazing people in the South Florida cycling community who have welcomed me with open arms and are so supportive of my biking endeavors, including Arnie, owner of Bike Tech stores and VeloSport Events, who I am doing a very special event with soon, and am honored to be an Ambassador for. I'm also going to be racing an entire mountain bike series for the first time ever, wish me luck, haha!! As a woman, cycling is a truly empowering experience in so many ways. It's very much a "mans sport", the ratio is close to 80% men to only 20% women; but myself and other women, and organizations, like VeloSport Events, are working to change this and get more women on bikes! When I'm riding I feel free, energized and focused on the job at hand. Knowing that just by showing up at the trails, racing and sharing my overall love for the sport I'm opening doors for other women to do the same; to make women aware of how rewarding it is to be on a bike, whether as a way to workout, be competitive, for the sheer pleasure of it, or all of the above! And to also let more men see women on the trails and road, and that we are here to stay and help grow the sport. It's one of my goals and dreams to inspire as many women as possible to get out and ride and experience the freedom and joy that comes with being a badass woman cyclist!
I'm also starting to paint some new abstract, symbolic paintings that incorporate my love of biking with my art, truly a fulfilling experience for me to combine my two passions, look for more of these paintings to come to life soon! I have also started to video all new paintings and create time lapse videos that can be seen on my YouTube channel.
So many wonderful opportunities coming up for my art and cycling over the next year, I'm super excited to share them with all of you as they happen. Thank you again for being a part of my life and art journey, YOU all inspire me to keep reaching for the stars and following my passions, I hope I can do the same for you.
Happy New Year!! 2018 is going to be an amazing year, lot's of great plans, goals and dreams to work towards, one of which is the new designer purse brand "Livin the MAD Life™" my daughter Aroon and I have co-founded that features my art and is sustainable and cruelty free fashion for the empowered woman.
Livin' the MAD Life Mission Statement and Purpose:
It is no secret that women and men have different privileges, whether it be in the workforce or home. Today, more than ever, women are trying to change the way society defines the female role. And we want to be apart of that change.
Livin' the MAD Life is run by a mother and daughter duo, who wanted to create a company that supported the female empowerment movement. And one thing most all women love and have in common, is the love for all things fashion. We not only wanted to create gorgeous bags and purses, but we wanted to incorporate something more into each design. Therefore, each bag and design has a MAD symbol, or multiple symbols, worked into the art work. These symbols can stand for empower, strength, courage, love, etc, to see what all of our hand painted symbols stand for, visit our symbols page.
The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, only behind the oil industry, and it is only growing. Today the world now consumes around 80 billion pieces of clothing annually (up 400 percent from 20 years ago.) Livin' the MAD Life, recognizes the need for fashion pollution awareness, which is why we only use thrifted and up-cycled products for our original purses and bags.
Although our limited edition and logo bags are not thrifted or up-cycled, they are works of art and each individually hand signed by the artist to make them more of a collectors piece, versus fast fashion.
Behind every fur coat, leather bag, suede belt or alligator boot was once a living animal, and millions are killed annually to support the fashion industry. Therefore, we have decided to keep all of our bags and purses made from vegan or synthetic materials. No animals were harmed in the making of these bags, and we hope to spread the cruelty free movement.
Mission Statement..."To empower women through sustainable and purposeful fashion."
I'm finally back in Florida after spending the last 3 out of 4 weeks in Alaska, the 2nd trip was to escape Irma's wrath! So thankful everything is fine here in Miami, feeling so blessed that both my apartment and studio came through unscathed and I can get back to my new life here :)
I had a lot of realizations and clarity come to me on this last trip to Alaska, in such a way that I can truly move forward and explore a new life full of adventures, new people and being the strong, empowered woman I am. Nothing is holding me back any longer and I feel I am in a position to now help other women realize their full potential and inspire and motivate us all to reach for the stars!!
Before I left to Alaska I had just finished up this 3'x3' painting "The Power of the Moon". This painting is part of my enlightenment series where I have created a new set of symbols that empower us to find enlightenment in everything around us. I used my "moon/gravity enlightenment" symbol for this painting, see the circular black and white drawing below and find it within the painting 😊😊I created this symbol to inspire us to find enlightenment through forces outside of ourself. We all now how much power the moon has on our planet, how it pulls the tides in and out and creates light for us during darkness. I personally notice changes in myself when there is a full moon, particularly that I have a more difficult time sleeping, without fail every month for several days.
This got me to thinking about how we allow so many outer forces to dictate how we live our lives, and give more control to certain things, and people, than others. We can't avoid things, thoughts and people having an effect on us, but what we CAN control is who and what we surround ourselves with and make sure we have positivity in every aspect of our lives. There are times however, like me with difficulty sleeping during a full moon, that we don't have control over, but we DO have control over how we respond and act to those situations. We can either fight it and create negative energy in our lives, or look for the positives in the situation and find ways to learn and grow from those experiences. I've come to recognize the issue with sleeping and the moon and know that it is only temporary; and if I feel the need to take a nap to make up for my sleeples nights, I do, and I don't let it stop me from carrying on in a normal way, I just take the extra time to rest if needed. I have learned that most negative things in life are temporary and we shouldn't give such things power over us, for they will soon be gone and nothing but a distant memory. There is no need to spend valuable time and energy dwelling on things that won't last, instead focus on the important things in life that create positive energy and happiness, make those things permanent aspects of your life.
I hope this painting, and my moon/gravity enlightenment symbolism, will help you rethink what positive and negative influences and forces you allow into your life. Create positive energy within yourself, which will radiate unto others, and respond to all outside influences with positivity.
In addition to the moon/gravity symbol there are other symbols throughout the painting that I use frequently, such as the floral "true love" symbol. Be positive, stay true to yourself and embrace life and love.
I will be doing a blog post soon with more in depth details on my Enlightenment series, the symbols and their meanings. Created on a 36"x36" Genie Canvas.
Recently hung my two degrees in my studio, two of my greatest accomplishments. Don't be afraid to go after your dreams, no matter what obstacles or difficulties you may face, it IS worth it in the end, I'm proof positive!! Read my story below of achieving a lifelong dream in spite of life having other plans for me 😊😊
I was bound and determined to go to college, even coming from the Bush of Alaska, in a remote village with a school that never boasted more than 15 kids at a time, all grade levels. I did whatever it took to make my dream a reality, and at 17 I booked a flight to Hawaii to go to my chosen school that I had been accepted too.
A few years later I moved to Florida and continued going to college, when I unexpectedly became pregnant at 20, I dropped out of school and went back to Alaska to be surrounded by all my loving, supportive family, who have always been there unconditionally, whenever I need them, no matter what. But, I NEVER gave up on knowing I would be returning to finish my education. So, while I was in Alaska I got a full-time job, applied and was accepted to attend The University of Central Florida (my Alma Mater), and within a month of my daughter being born I was on a plane back to Florida to go to school the following semester. I had a lot of people tell me, even to my face, that because I was so young, and a single mom I would never go back to school. That simply made me even more determined to prove them wrong, and I did!
It wasn't easy by any means, being 21, a single mom to a newborn and going to college full-time, but I had saved a lot of money while being pregnant and working, took out student loans and busted my butt!
When my daughter was about a year old her father and I got back together and I was then faced with an entirely new set of difficulties to deal with. My (eventual) husband had a 4.5 year old son who lived with him (who was an extreme, and I do mean extreme, handful), so all of a sudden my family of two just grew to 4 and I had to adapt to all of this while still going to school. And I would not only be taking care of both kids, mostly on my own, a full time cook, housekeeper and help my husband with his business, but I also held down 2 jobs, while eventually going to school at night for my Masters degree.
I look back and seriously wonder how I was able to manage this and STILL get my Bachelors and Masters degrees in Political Science. But, you know what? It just goes to show that if you want something badly enough and set your mind to it, no matter what, you CAN achieve your dreams and goals. Don't ever, ever give up on what's important to you, if you have the will, desire and passion inside you for something, you have everything you need to make it happen. Go out and follow your dreams and make them a reality!!
(Oh, and I got these degrees in the late 90's but still feel proud to display them as they represent dreams that came true and fierce determination to fight through the difficulties and never give up).