Distancing From Dating Apps

Can social distancing with increased screen time push us over the edge and into the arms of face to face meet ups?  Before Covid-19 hit the States, I deleted all of my dating apps prompted by one experience.

That Dating Aha Moment

I matched with a man on Hinge. We shared hilarious banter with some fact exchanging, the typical; Where do you live? What do you do?… blah blah blah. We set a date to meet but when the day came he had to postpone with a reasonable excuse.   A week or so went by with no follow up. Again, this wasn’t a cancellation at the time; he asked to postpone. I thought, ‘Here we are on a site with the only purpose being to meet and date people, so why wouldn’t this happen’?   When it ultimately did not, I was genuinely interested in the reason why. We hadn’t even met yet, so there was no feeling of loss, just curiosity. I was secure enough in my clever texting ability to know it couldn’t be about any lacking in carrying a conversation still I looked for any mistake I could have made. I reviewed my profile pics to ensure they surely highlighted my best features, I even briefly thought what extremely high self-esteemed people must think when they are blown off, ‘Maybe he died?” Tired of wondering, I reached out to ask him.  He seemed confused by the fact that I was even asking. He basically just said, ‘This is just what happens with online dating, sometimes it just doesn’t go anywhere’. I realized, ‘He’s right!’ This is just what happens sometimes. Sometimes online dating promotes bad behavior. 

What Bad Behaviors You Talkin’ About?

Initial online ‘matching’ lacks human connection, so there is no exchange of energies, vibes, “the feels” or whatever you wanna call that feeling in your gut when chemistry brews (or doesn’t).  Even when there isn’t a love connection, there’s an unspoken common decency expected.  This doesn’t mean there’s an intent to be rude because I don’t think most people, like my Hinge match, set out to be; instead the issue is that the risk of seeming rude is no longer there. There aren’t any social consequences with an image on a screen or text on a phone. In a strange way we are not human at this stage, and therefore online daters aren’t treating each other that way. We simply aren’t mindful. 

Your Phone is Haunted

Texting has made communicating simple, keeping us at each other’s fingertips at any moment but also making it easy to dismiss people. This has brought to life that dreaded act of “ghosting“.  Ghosting, for my “under a rock” dwelling readers, is when someone stops communicating with someone.  This also led to the creation of Ghosting’s cousin, “Left On Read”: reading someone’s text and consciously not replying.  I don’t take total issue with ghosting as there are legitimate reasons for this (I’m looking at you unsolicited dick pic) but I think once we gave this act a fun name, the impact of it was lost. You hear things said like, “I was talking to this girl but she’s not my type, so I ghosted her”  Or  “He kept asking me out on a second date so I ghosted him” What, if instead of ghosting, we replaced it with what it actually is? Suddenly ceased all contact and response” Would we be as likely to do it or admit to it?  Let’s try it: “I was talking to this girl but she’s not my type so I suddenly ceased all contact and response”.

This wouldn’t magically change everyone’s behavior, but it would sound a bit odd and call more attention to the inability in being able to deal with a situation directly.  I can’t be the first to wonder how life would be if ghosting was common in other areas.  If I was not contacted after an interview for an important job, or in other words, “ghosted” by HR, I would be upset no matter what you called it.  But with online dating you’re supposed to accept this as the price of putting yourself out there.  Sometimes we can Thank You, Next” the whole thing, which is the most appropriate response. Still, those who’ve ever been ghosted would be lying if they said it didn’t piss them off a little.  Not all ghosting is malicious. We may be too busy, started dating someone else, or decided we’re just not ready; but the negative action still remains, creating a jaded lot of daters recycled into the mix., ie; me, you, all of us.

Plenty Of Fish In The Screen

Casting a wide net is a swipe strategy for some. It’s mindlessly swiping ‘right’ to match as many people possible then deciding what to do after you match. This is why straight men love Bumble, a site where women have to talk first.  This idea is great in theory, giving women control to avoid aggressive men. Unfortunately men tend to cast large nets and play catch and release with their matches. They barely review profiles until a match is made and the woman sparks the conversation. This, of course, results in a lot of ghosted and jaded fish thrown back into the water.  I matched with a man on Bumble and on the date, he asked, “What made you pick me?” I didn’t have an answer better than ‘I thought you were cute’ so I asked him the same question instead and he replied, “I don’t know, I didn’t see you until we matched.” Gasp. He basically didn’t look at me until I wrote him and he then determined if he would date me.  This seemed like such a violation to the unspoken ‘Mutual Match’ clause.  Isn’t the point of matching to feel the flatery and courage of that initial mutual attraction? I felt tricked yet now understood this type of person. I imagined this same guy handing the bartender his credit card and having him buy the entire bar a round of drinks waiting for that one person to come up to him and thank him. This person is metaphorically dancing up to everyone at the club waiting for someone to let him grind them. It’s the old ‘numbers game’.

You Put Your One Foot In, You Take Your One Foot Out

I feel we missed that blissful loophole just after online dating first become popular; at first it was taboo, only a few daring singles would try it. Soon more sites were popping up and as our phones got smarter so did our online dating savvy. Matches turned into marriages and long term relationships were being made official on Facebook. Now, however, like Instagram or Linkedin we all have one or more dating profiles. It’s become just the thing to do.  Sometimes we check it, we delete it and start up again and we try new ones. We’re spread thin. I noticed I was begrudgingly getting ready for dates. Wasn’t I supposed to be excited to meet the potential love of my life? Shouldn’t I be dancing around picking out my outfit like a 90’s Rom-Com? Dates start to feel like a job because you haven’t yet made a connection to this profile pic.  The drive to put down the bag of chips, wash your face and to go to a bar to meet someone just isn’t likely there. There will always be tomorrow, another day to swipe so why wouldn’t you choose Netflix over putting pants on? The only thing that is real in these moments  is a fear that it would be a waste of the Uber drive downtown.  Swiping has become a pastime while sitting on the toilet or the thing you do during commercials.  Our hearts just aren’t in it in the way you need it to be to plan a date and leave your home to meet a stranger. Ultimately you start to check the messages and matches more or less depending on your current level of boredom or loneliness. Sadly those few who power through and stay driven are stuck with this mix of the apathetic daters and the cycle goes on.  If we treated relationships and networking with this level of apathy we could end up lonely and unemployed.

You Up?

Previously known as causal sex, ‘Hooking Up’ is a perk in the single persons’ life. I am pro ‘Get Your Freak On’’ when you want but the issue is that online dating and hooking up can get confusing

despite there being sites geared towards love or one night stands. We all end up in the same grey area because our moods change daily. Maybe one day you’re horny and you swipe more carelessly but later you want to fall hopelessly in love.  We not only confuse our matches but ourselves so we ghost, delete and get frustrated by the whole process. You see people testing the waters on all sites to see who will Lyft over to their place late night, like the guy who starts the conversation at 2 a.m. saying he’s in bed and can’t sleep *wink wink*. We send mixed messages, like the girl messaging  ”D.T.F” with her bio reading “‘looking for love, marriage and kids”. The lines are blurred. The bad behavior comes when two people meet in the grey area and the goals aren’t the same; someone gets hurt. Of course this is also an issue in real life but it’s perpetuated online because we’re limited to a few characters on a screen to describe the type of person we are or what we are looking for, and that can change day to day. Hence, so does our swiping behavior. 

So What’s A Single To Do?

It’s 2020 and we’re currently experiencing an unprecedented global pandemic where we are forced to speak only online.  I have heard of successful dates happening via Zoom and I know online dating can work. My brother met my now sister in law on Tinder so I get it. We’re on the go, we’re busy, we’re older and not hanging out at clubs, we’re parents, we’re working multiple jobs, we’re working long hours, we’re introverts, we’re new to town…the list goes on but I was seeing the same people on all of the dating sites for years and I had to conclude; “This just isn’t working for any of us!” What if we took a break and partied like it’s 1999?  When we can get closer than 6 ft without a mask won’t we be hungrier than ever for real engagement?  If we weren’t all dependent on an app we would naturally do it the old fashioned way. Let’s ride the elation we’ll get post quarantine to truly begin socializing.

  • Friends and Co-workers! Remember getting set up? To my millennial readers, there was a time when people would get “fixed up” on dates. Blind date or not, friends used to play a role as matchmaker in people’s lives. Sure, it’s scary to trust your friend’s or Linda in finance’s opinion on who you should date, but is it any scarier than meeting that guy who’s online pics are all group shots with his bros and you don’t know which is him or the girl whose pictures are all Snapchat filtered? If you can do that then you were always a risk taker, don’t be shy now.
  • Party! Throw a party, from a full on house party to a smaller brunch or dinner party. Once life starts to go back to normal the desire to have actual human contact will be so great, people will be thrilled to meet up.  Even if you don’t meet someone romantically the worst thing that could happen is a good time as opposed to back and forth messaging that goes nowhere. How many chats about what you do and where do you live do you want to have? Isn’t it more fun to talk about the DJs playlist or the bottle of wine you brought to share?
  • Look! Yes, use your eyes to look around you again. People actually used to meet people at the grocery store for goodness sake. There used to be an art to meeting new people. We are lacking those skills today. If done right, striking up a conversation with a stranger can not only be a way to meet a potential mate but a great way to learn charm, show personality and gain skills on breaking the ice that can crossover to all areas of life. Some people may be really bad at this with pick up lines (though funny at times) that are creepy, but you have to learn how to conduct yourself eventually.  Much like trolling on the internet, people are not themselves online and say or do things they would never do in person because they never experience a real reaction. It’s time to work on your people skills, take away your swipe game and up your 20/20 vision to the hotties around you.  
  • Join In! It may sound corny but joining a meetup group or taking a class could be just the thing for all of us post pandemic. Not only would it be a great way to support businesses offering courses like cooking, fitness or art but of course it’s an opportunity to meet people. Why do we think learning some new cool shit is cliche or only for old or lonely people? Just about everyone of us could stand to gain a new hobby or experience and become a more interesting person to date.

I would never say never to online dating again since the world is full of interesting people. Being able to connect easily is not something I take for granted, but for now I am challenging myself and others to take a break to hit up some reality for a change. If you don’t agree it’s okay, you can simply cease all contact and response.

Dawn Alexander

LIKE OF THE MONTH

January 2018

THE SILVER TOUCH

-By Dawn Alexander

Have you ever watched Friends? If you have you’ll remember that on going joke the group had where they really didn’t know what was Chandler’s job exactly. We all have that Chandler in our life. We have some clue what that friend does but we can never really quite explain it with certainly. My Chandler Bing is Jessica Silver. A long time close friend whose career I always had an interest in but never quite had a firm grasp at explaining so I sat her down to get clarity once and for all. Are you intrigued yet? Let’s get into it.

Jessica Silver currently lives In Malibu California where she anticipates her new at home practice as, what she calls, a Somatic therapist, will be up and running in the new year. Somatic, as Jessica describes, is therapy that isn’t just talking, it’s paying attention to how the body is responding to situations. “It’s body based therapy, it’s all about connecting your body’s experience and your mind’s experience rather than just focusing on your thoughts only”, Jessica explains.

She started as a therapist over 10 years ago, focusing on Gestalt therapy where the primary focus is traumas such as PTSD and more of a psychotherapeutic method focusing mostly on the present. She has her masters in Behavioral Sciences for clinical Psychology but she was more inspired by deeper methods.

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She felt there had to be something more beyond Gestalt, . Within herself she wasn’t feeling as connected to her body as she would like so surely others were feeling the same void . During her time in her masters program she had learned how trauma can be held in the body and therefore must also be released by the body, naturally she wondered if this was happening to her personally as well.  Coming from a religious background where one focuses on the disconnection of the physical from the spiritual body she felt internal conflict. “Why would I own this, this isn’t mine..” She explains, “The way that I related to my body was that this is a temporary shell and that who you are really is your spirit.”   Despite this she still knew she needed to proceed with seeking some sort of body centered treatment. The typical practices of what we all think of as ‘body work’, especially as anyone living in LA,  came to mind such as yoga, massage and acupuncture and all of those  “get to know your body” type trends we’re so familiar with. These were all fine but fortunately she came across the Skirball Center where an introduction to Peter Levine, who created Somatic Experiencing working with vets specifically, would really change everything for her.

Levine was working with vets coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq who had experienced and witnessed traumatic events. They would come back with symptoms that standard western medicine would label and prescribe pharmecuticals for but wouldn’t exactly cure them.

Jessica Silver

“Western medicine is the brain up and eastern medicine is usually more of the body but holistic is when everything, your whole being is considered.”-Jessica Silver

 

“This one guy came back and he was misdiagnosed by his western doctor with turrets, it wasn’t”, Jessica says explaing a misdiagnosis that Peter Levine corrected. “He was in this tank and the enemy threw a grenade and he ran out of his tank and he took the grenade and he threw it back but the grenade blew up halfway and he turned as a response and he came back from war like that, stuck.”  He was stuck in this twitch or tick  but Peter Levine was convinced he was just stuck in that moment and he successfully helped the man through it.  This sort of healing can go as far back as treating traumas experienced while in utero. Jessica was amazed by Levine and the results he was getting with his method. “Im sold!”, Jess explains on finding something she connected with, “This is what I’ve been looking for.”

Finding what you want to is just one step. How do you even go about shifting from more of a mental therapist to adding body work?  She was recommended to see a woman named Raquel at a studio that taught the Grinberg Method.  This animated and personable Israeli woman gets right to the point with Jessica upon meeting. “When did you learn you had to put on a face that everything was ok?” was the first thing Raquel asked Jessica. She started to cry immediately. “You see me!” Jessica laughs at remembering her reaction to the blunt and straight to the point introduction to The Grinberg Method. Beyond the mental there was of course the physical and Raquel showed her where she was holding her personal fears and past traumas. She was first hand experiencing that connection she believed we all have.

Having her background as a therapist and her enthusiasm in this method Raquel suggested Jessica take the Grinberg method training taking place in Germany in October of 2013 through 2016 which she committed to for the next 3 years. “It was 20 people from all around the world, There’s students from Israel, Germany, Amsterdam.”, Jessica describes the courses, “It was an 8 day program, a combination of lecture and exercises that we would be lead through and they would teach us a technique and we would pair off and practice on one another.”

Jessica later found more methods that resonated with her such as Pantarei that focus on the strengths and qualities that are specific to individuals. “Most of the time those strengths are connected to a time of your life where you needed to learn to get by.” She explains, “Usually they come from a darker time in your life where you needed to cope with something or get through something.” Having dealt with her own childhood issues in her family and learning at a young age how to read the mood of the room quickly, she learned to use this to her advantage in a positive light. “This is a gift I have, I learned I don’t need to check out everyone to make sure I’m safe or what’s there motive.”

Through all of these methods we can now travel back to the now where Jessica finds herself today. Where we get Somatic Therapy from her. Since we live in a cynical world where the idea of practicing methods that don’t yeild some expensive certification or liscence handed out by a panal of people appointed to be the heads of its practice Jessica does still practice what is referred to as talk therapy but her hands on approach in Somatic therapy is blooming and noone is ‘owning’ it, which is a good thing.

One of Jessica’s proudest success stories was from a woman who was having difficulty getting pregnant due to ovarian cysts. Jessica got to know her mentally but also put her hands on her and helped her work on the physical tension she was keeping in her lower belly. A lot of fear and past feelings would come up so through the physical touch and working out the details by talking she was able to to help heal her. Jessica suggest that the woman get her cysts measured at the beginning so that they could monitor results. 6 months later they were gone and she got pregnant. Jessica remembers saying to herself, “This works!”

“You know when you’re doing something you feel alive and you feel like you’re in your flow…Thats optimal living. So it’s helping people find how to get back in your flow because trauma is when we stop our flow.”-Jessica Silver

I asked Jessica, what kind of people should come see you? Her reply was anyone really.  “A lot of people say ‘ever since my divorce, ever since this car accident, ever since I got sick with anything…I was something then something happened and I’ve never been the same’”.  Seems we all have things to talk about, get off of our chest or have a desire to better ourselves. We don’t always have to have obvious deep traumas to heal and feel better and Jessica further convinced me of that. “I would reccommend myself to anyone who is looking to grow in a certain area, if they have anxiety, depression or they want to learn how to be a better partner or a friend.”  Says Jessica. Somatic therapy is beneficial for all walks of life, maybe you just feel stuck in your own sort of tick. This is a method to get people  unstuck and beyond a rut and onto personal growth.

To learn more about Jessica Silver and Somatic therapy contact her, make an appointment or recommend her today. bodiesthatheal@gmail.com

 

 

Moto Photo

November 13th 2017

Motorcycles aren’t just for riding, that’s right, they make very pretty pictures too.  If you’re like me you admire motorcycles not only for the the bad-ass lifestyle that they have epitomized for decades, but for the ascetics of those gorgeous 2 wheeled machines. This concept is certainly not lost on Josiah Myers. 

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In 2008, Josiah revamped his college love of photography while working for an advertising company in Los Angeles where he was assigned to take photos of the events they hosted. It all started with, as Josiah remembers it, “…a crappy digital camera.”  It wasn’t until they finally purchased a Canon 70D with the kit lens that his passion was officially sparked again. During this same period he started to ride, having been influenced by his company’s client, Harley Davidson. As part of his job he worked on the branding and took a safety course to learn how to ride and it was only a matter of time that he became an enthusiast.

When I’m riding on the road and see a fellow biker, just with a finger waive or a head nod, we both know we’re on the streets riding with a sense of freedom every time we roll that throttle and feel that engine rumble.”-Josiah Myers

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He started www.motocoasthd.com in 2016. It seemed a logical and creative way to share his journeys on the road and maybe inspire others to start riding which he feels emphasizes camaraderie and he hopes his site sheds light on that part of motorcycle culture.

When not riding and snapping shots of bikes you can take advantage of Josiah’s skills for weddings, portraits and events. He’s branching out and offers his talented skills which you can preview on instagram at @josiahmy. Please check out his amazing site and the other links below.

Instagram: @motocoasthd

Be a Brat

LIKE OF THE MONTH

November 2017

BE A BRAT

by Dawn Alexander

A friend once joked with me that I now had to move onto wearing long skirts instead of short ones due to getting older but I will likely never act my age, whatever that’s supposed to mean.  I’ll probably remain in a state of trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up and Im sure to do so while wearing the clothing I feel expresses my personal style. I gravitate towards people living their truth in this way as well. Whether it be through their art, style or fashion. As much as I hate the phrase “Do you!” (eyeroll), I totally believe in it.  People should do what brings them happiness.

Many years ago I stumbled upon a shop in my neighborhood that lives it’s truth. I go out of my way to swing by when I have little cash to spend or I simply want a chat with the fabulous owner, Nancy Hunt. Nancy owns Brat.img_9183-1 It’s a small, hip boutique that pops on the otherwise quiet street of 14th near Pico Blvd in Santa Monica, CA.  Stop! Don’t even imagine those ugly ‘bratz’ dolls. This is a punk rock/rockabilly inspired store with affordable clothing, gifts and accessories. Brat opened in 2001 and the name is inspired from its roots, an homage to Bobbi Brat of The Bobbi Brat band. Before Bobbi Brat became somewhat of a legend in some California music circles she was an employee of Nancy’s first punk rock store, Na Na, which opened in 1976 selling mostly shoes like Doc Martins and Monkey boots. Bobbi Brat was a rising star at the time but died tragically of cancer in 1988.

 

After many years Na Na closed all of its stores, which were in various locations such as New York and San Francisco, in 2001. A sad affair in some respects but Nancy took this as an opportunity to get back to that direct touch with customers she had missed during all of her years traveling from store to store managing Na Na. “It lost it’s charm for me”, Nancy explains about the impersonal managing. She felt it was time to get back to what she really enjoyed. “I really love people and contact with people”

Brat’s punk rock style is very fitting for it’s location. It’s not often that you can walk out of a store with shopping bag in hand and have a fantastic view of a graveyard as well. The Woodland Cemetery is directly across the street. According to Nancy, ‘Bobbie loved cemeteries’, she was a punk rock girl after all, so when the real estate agent called and hesitated to offer the property due to it’s unfortunate proximity Nancy quickly replied, “I’ll take it!”

“I think that the product in here is interesting enough that it is a magnet for really great and very creative people who just aren’t the status quo and those are the people we need in this world to change things and create things” -Nancy Hunt

Brat is the kind of store you want to walk into, even just to peek around. The mannequins in the window look like they are having a blast. Always dressed colorfully in fun poses surrounded by interesting items and props. It’s a small but inviting and cozy shop. A lot of Brat’s style echoes that of Na Na. There’s even a picture hung in memorial of Bobbi Brat.

Despite the small space I have often found myself circling the space several times getting into a new item of interest at each turn. The music filling the boutique ranges from 50s to current punk rock. There are fun socks and accessories hanging from the wall, hat racks, sunglasses, clever gift items, baby clothing and although it’s mostly women’s clothing you can find mens clothing as well like T-Shirts, accessories, jackets and more.  She manages to fit it all in one space while not leaving you feeling overwhelmed.

I personally own many items of clothing from Brat and they are always my most complimented pieces. An added plus for those of us animal friendly consumers is that Nancy avoids selling any leather or fur. She thrives to still  get the best quality to maintain that punk style people want without the unnecessary cruelty. “You still have that same badass look that you get from leather” She’s explains about her leather-free motorcycle style jackets, “.. and believe it or not the pleather now is such good quality it will hold up and breaths a lot more”

Another thing that makes Brat and Nancy so special is her love and devotion to her community. Brats’ home has been Santa Monica for a long time and she’s not planning on going anywhere anytime soon despite feeling the change that has occurred over time. “Santa Monica used to be called The City of Slow Growth” Nancy laments. Over the years it’s lost that touch a bit as developers take over more and more. “We’re losing any kind of people that are artist and creative people..and that hurts me”. Nancy enjoys being a part of her community as a store owner providing not only fun fashion for all ages but summer jobs for the local kids but it has changed a lot since she first started.img_9178

“When I first opened kids could still be in college, get a part time job, many of them worked for us, they could be in a band, they could surf, skateboard and still live by the beach”, Nancy explains passionately, “It was still affordable enough for these kids that we need in this community, in any community for that matter. You need diversity and creative people putting new life into a community, pushing a little bit to the edge to get things to go in the future”

Despite more industry people filling the streets than from long ago Nancy still has her core of customers that are all over the age spectrum. Punk fashion has been around for so long and still inspires young kids today to those over 70.  Nancy has seen young parents in their 20s share interest in the fashions and products with their own small children.  Her clothing is affordable for anyone from a young student to a senior citizen.

“I have grandmothers in their 80s, they are very lively, they buy moto jackets..they say  ‘I can wear that can’t I?’ and being who I am I could never deny them”, Nancy explains, “I don’t buy into that at a certain age you have to give up being fresh and trying new things. I just can’t buy into that and I never will.”

She’s proud to be so close to, as she calls them, the ‘coolest kids’ that attend Santa Monica College (SMC).  To her these are the kids in our community choosing to aspire to the arts and aspiring for more than money making careers. “Those are the kids that put themselves through that school, those are the creative kids”  Even now at 65 years old Nancy can relate to choosing passion over money. As an owner of Brat she wouldn’t call her career choice an overwhelming financial goldmine but she absolutely  loves what she does and has no thoughts or plan to retire anytime soon.

Brat clothing will set you apart from the mass market. While affordable, accessible attire is desirable from the likes of Forever 21 to Urban Outfitters, Brat is the place you can go to to spend similarly but with the bonus of having a look that’s all your own.

At Brat you will see outfits pre arranged suggesting an entire ensemble to purchase but Nancy may only suggest a smaller item like suspenders, a cardigan or hat to perk up your wardrobe. Nancy isn’t a sales person. She will never try to up-sell you. She’ll let you explore on your own or assist you in making a  purchase that fits you and only you. To her you’re not simply a consumer to be sold to.img_9174

This is what I love about Brat and mostly, Nancy Hunt. I feel like I am walking into her home to say hello to one of the friendliest people in the neighborhood and oh, she also has cool stuff for sale!  Every time I go to Brat I not only find at least one thing to purchase but I also have a pleasant conversation with Nancy while enjoying the vibe and browsing. She keeps her store products fresh and updated.

Among all of the amazing items at Brat, Nancy supports her friends event by selling tickets at her store for the infamous and  popular burlesque wrestling extravaganza called Lucha Vavoom.

If you would like to support local small businesses and want unique gifts or clothing items for men, women and babies then I highly suggest popping into Brat. Click the links below for more information.

BRAT store Facebook

BRAT Instagram

BRAT Twitter

Hours: Daily 12-6 310-452-2480 1938 14th Street Santa Monica

[brat]
NOUN
a child, typically a badly behaved one.

 

 

 

Throwing On The Wheel

-By Dawn Alexander

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Matt Haeuser at the wheel
When you picture a homemade potter you probably imagine an old hippie woman in her garage at a potting wheel surrounded by gardening supplies and various half finished crafts with incense smoke in the air getting ready for the next local fair. You’re least likely to imagine my friend Matt, a young guy in his 30s who skateboards and drums in a badass punk rock band, Velcron.  No, Matt Heauser isn’t a stereo type of pottery in fact, I learned that the stereo type of pottery is quickly changing as pottery becomes more popular with younger, “hip” people, and Matt leads the way with his amazing work and years of commitment to the craft.

He started messing around on the wheel when he was 4 years old. His great grandmother started in the pottery business in 1953. His grandmother then passed down this love of pottery to his mother and then naturally onto him. Though his grandmother was the one to give him his first lesson he really didn’t find a passion for it until his summer breaks in college in Seattle.  This is when he started to make it his steady course of income.

“It’s been my main source of income since I graduated college…I’ve never been able to get fully into something else” -Matt Haeuser

During his early years in Seattle he started with small projects like magnets and ornaments where he could master using glaze. Glaze, I learned is how you add the color. It’s a mix of chemicals, clay and metals and depending on the temperature that the piece is fired in the glaze reacts and changes color so some prediction is required in advance to the final product when it comes to design. “So you might have something that looks pink”, Matt explains, “but when you dip it but turns into something that looks green”.

By 2004 as he got better at “throwing” as he puts it, which is a phrase that refers to making pieces on the wheel.  He decided he could either sell these items or get a low paying 9-5 gig. He took the obvious choice and decided to make a living off of his creativity.  He had an advantage since his family owns and operates Orcas Island Pottery.  This gave him a place to sell his creations easily so he never had to worry much about the sales end. The issue was that the shop was in Orcas Island and Matt was still living in Seattle at this time. Luckily his brother was also in Seattle so he was able to use his brothers’ garage studio. He used something called a bisqueware,It’s when the pot is fired in a Kiln the first time and is turned into stone.  He would then take an hour and a half drive and a ferry ride to Orcas with what he had turned to stone and finish the glaze process when he arrived.

In 2009 he moved to LA, a lot more than just a short drive and a ferry to Orcas. Like most of us he struggled with the “How am I gonna make a living here” dilemma. He had friends, fellow Orcas Island transplants, the band, his drums but now there was the challenge to continue to make and sell his work which was becoming more and more of a passion for him.  He was able to find a space to create his pieces and still traveled to Orcas about 3 times a year. “I would stuff my Honda full of pottery box after box, full of stuff.”, says Matt.
Mugs were his specialty for a long time. They are always in demand. It’s that perfect gift for the boss or co-worker. In my cabinet I have about 3 favorite mugs that I prefer to drink my coffee out of so I understand the attachments to a favorite mug.  “People love mugs”,  Matt says. He’s probably made over 10,000 mugs to date.  Most days he makes standard shaped mugs but some days he’ll feel more creative and make about 100 different mugs all unique.

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abstract mug designs
Eventually Matt wanted to sell locally. LA offers so many merchant and art festivals, markets and boutiques so he tried a few shops but the demands for 50% of all sales wasn’t too profitable.  He settled on selling at some farmers markets and some of his items are currently displayed and for sale at Good Dirt LA, where he also teaches.  Good Dirt is a hip spot to learn pottery, unlike smaller towns where the pottery is more geared to the older crowds, young people in LA seem to be drawn to getting their hands in the clay. “There are a lot of younger people that come in (to Good Dirt)” Matt explains, “I think its more to get back (to being) connected to the earth and do something with your hands because of a lot of people work in tech or graphic design and they love doing something where they can see the final product and it’s real” unnamed-10

His creativity is growing past bowls and standard mugs. He’s experimenting with various sculpture. He’ll just throw a piece and modify and sculpt it after, going with the feeling and adding to it. Currently he’s been making detailed tiki mugs and creative octopus designs on mugs and sculptures.

 

 

Matt will be leaving LA real soon so join one of his classes at Good Dirt LA asap.  You can order or commission work from him directly at matt.haeuser@gmail.com or the links below.  Get your POT on!

Matt Haeuser on INSTAGRAM

GOOD DIRT LA CLASSES

ORCAS ISLAND POTTERY

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Fashion Forward Florals

 

March 2017

Fashion Forward Florals

By Jenna Hawes

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“Florals are like fashion, you can do what everyone is doing or you can try something different that speaks to you.”-Amy Nua, creator of Desert Rose Florals

Desert Rose Florals makes arrangements that will illuminate any room. Having flowers in your home is proven to promote happiness and Desert Rose Florals does exactly that. In addition to pure joy, these florals bring with them beauty and positivity. Amy Nua is the creator and founder and she, just like her floral arrangements, demonstrates these qualities with her genuine personality. Amy just started her business one year ago and  she had no idea she would be so busy doing exactly what she loves in so little time. 

Her story and talents are inspiring and undeniable. Amy began making floral arrangements for friends years ago. It is therapeutic for her soul and an outlet for her creativity, She loves it. There are so many jobs and careers or ways to make money and Amy tried many, however, they all brought her back to Desert Rose Florals. After getting married, starting a family and buying a house in the suburbs of Los Angeles; Amy let go of fear and began her floristry business. IMG_7370

I chatted with Amy about the challenges she has faced as well as all of the excitement! I asked Amy, “What inspired you to begin this company?” Her response was sweet and not without a powerful message. She replies, “If I’m being completely honest, first me and then my girls. This was a promise I made to myself to stop dreaming and start doing. Once I started seeing how much people were feeling my vibe and booking events I just felt so strong and proud. We live in a moment that I believe is such a critical time to teach our young girls through action. It isn’t easy, and you will face challenges,but it is so much more to be than to dream.”

The mom work/life balance is one of the biggest challenges Amy faces in starting Desert Rose Florals but the long days do not bother Amy. She is a manual labor kinda gal but she vowed to stay present for her daughters, Rosie and Cece. She works late into the night so she can give the days to her family, which is selfless in my book, and describes this woman perfectly. Setting a great example for Rosie and Cece is Amy’s greatest motivation.

Getting started felt like a toss up to Amy, but having social media as free marketing gave her an in into the floristry market.  She began creating and posting and immediately the ‘likes’ started rolling in. One wedding booked, two, three – a couple of showers and birthdays. Right out of the gate and Amy had a business! The receptiveness to her creations was almost overwhelming but mostly affirmed her artistic talents.  

I asked Amy, “Now that you’re gaining momentum- is there a direction you see yourself working towards?” She replied, “Honestly, anything out of the box. I LOVE when someone contacts me and is willing to let me do my creative thing…Florals are like fashion you can  do what everyone is doing or you can try something different that speaks to you.”

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Amy’s arrangements are stunning, original, sometimes wild and even avant garde! Each one makes it’s own statement. You know that great feeling you get when you get new bedroom furniture and you just want to stare at it all day? Desert Rose Florals ignites those same feelings of contentment and bliss. They are perfectly unique to each project and using only the best blooms of seasonal flowers. A combination of simplicity and style. For example you see her artistic eye when it comes to pairing eucalyptus with a light pink garden flower and dark purple peonies. It’s absolutely breathtaking. You’ll have to see it to believe it and everyone needs an Amy Nua creation to brighten their babyshower, wedding day, or casual living room space!

 

For more photos & insight into Desert Rose Florals contact desertroseflorals@gmail.com

Follow on Instagram @desertrose florals

Share and Like on Facebook DesertRoseFlorals

Website DesertRoseFlorals.com

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KAT EYES

Kat Eyes

By Dawn Alexander

When I think of a name like Kat I imagine a sassy bestie character in a ‘rom com’ movie who has no filter.  Well the real life Kat that I know is pretty close. She’s a true original. The three S’s: Sexy, Sassy & Smart.

I love what I do and make sure I listen to my clients and take the time and buy quality products to provide the best possible experience. -Kat Pulido

She became a licensed Esthetician in 2010. She slowly built up her own clientele base in Santa Monica and began working for herself in 2014 at Kat Esthetics.  She’s a Body Art Practitioner for Los Angeles County specializing in Eyebrow Shaping, Eyelash Extensions, Facials and Microblading. She works out of a fully efficient, equipped and professional office in her cozy home.  Along with her literally hands on service you’ll enjoy lively conversation with Kat and nothing (besides maybe a few cocktails) helps endure hot wax on the face like some laughs with a friend.

She’s more than eyebrow shaping, go to her website for more amazing services like microdermabrasion, body waxing, facials and more and catch her monthly specials available at  www.Thebrowbungalow.com.

Follow on Instagram @katesthetics            Like & Share on Facebook  KatEsthetics

 

Grab Her By The Kitten

 January 2017 

“I’ve been wearing it since college, everyone I know has always been wearing it..I just surround myself with those kinds of people I guess”

GRAB HER BY THE KITTEN

by Dawn Alexander

Bohemian Vintage Kitten

We’re in a city that loves to encourage inner self awareness with a side of kale washed down with a turmeric shake and herbal tea but while all of this is great we can’t deny that along with feeling good we want to look good. Being hip and fashionable in Los Angeles is as important as air and despite that air being polluted and smog filled we still try to breath it. Much like our polluted fashion trends that are over branded, mass produced, slave labor produced and just simply lacking originality, we still crave it. Many have found their salvation in vintage fashion. Vintage fashion as a concept has gained momentum in the past few decades and still going strong. Vogue magazine reported in 2015 designers assisting in their 2016 vintage styled spring line. I recently saw a commercial advertising  Neil Lane‘s vintage inspired wedding rings that can be found at Kay Jewelers. Whatever the reason, this retro appreciation movement proves to be here to stay for a long time. We see it in recent TV with shows like Netflix’s The Get Down. We’ve been seeing it with musical acts bringing back styles and sounds from a variety of eras. Amy Winehouse’s extreme cat eyes and bee hive, The Borns 80s synth sound, The Black Keys 70s vibe and look. We’re all over the place craving something so new that we’re looking to the old. It’s finally shining some light on those who have been rocking these styles for many years prior such as Kim Oliva, creator and owner of Bohemian Kitten Vintage, a mobile vintage boutique.

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Bohemian Vintage Kitten

Kim started BKV as an online store via Ebay in 2008. As the sole owner and operator she runs around Los Angeles to collect a variety of clothing and accessories from various second hand shops, estate sales, costume houses, garage sales and wherever the hidden gems can be found. This is her favorite part of it all. Her passion, knowledge of couture and knack for finding gold in unlikely places gives her the advantage in this growing industry.

When I asked Kim what she thought of vintage clothing becoming more mainstream she was confused. I implied that vintage seemed to be everywhere now.

“What do you mean?” she asked “I’ve been wearing it since college, everyone I know has always been wearing it..I just surround myself with those kinds of people I guess”. She’s been in a fortunate bubble of friends that saw fashion and vintage in the same light as herself. She continues “..just like I surround myself with smart people, like I didn’t think Trump would win” She laughs, “… because I don’t know anyone that would vote for him” That’s Kim, being her honest and genuine self.

Though ‘bohemian’ is in the name this is no a “boho chic” shop. The name was inspired by her appreciation of the eras of the 1920s-60s. To Kim, the word bohemian encompasses the overall vibe of the times. A vibe not to be confused with that baggy, droopy over sized dress and bag lady trend made popular by the Olsen twins. Her mobile boutique stands out from the rest because, as she explains it, ‘it’s an extension of her creative self’. People have been known to look around the shop and just ask her “Who are you?” She sells the things she too would want to wear but everyone always fits into her shop no matter who you are or what your style is. Each customer receives personal attention and is encouraged out of their insecurities when they hesitant to buy something they clearly love but feel like it’s “not them”. A common theme she finds is people liking an item, trying it on, it fitting like a glove and then they say, ‘but where would I wear it?’ Her reply, ‘What do you mean?..anywhere!’, is her answer. Then she’ll help you make the outfit your own either by suggesting accessories or giving advice based on your personality because at this point, let’s face it, you’ve probably already been fully engrossed in conversation with her while shopping. It’s always a personal experience. Her goal is to put her ‘gals’ (as she lovingly refers to her customers) in special pieces and outfits unlike the mass produced store items. We all crave a bit of originality and having that personal, special something in our look. BKV supplies that.

Visually the shop is captivating to look at. It’s an outdoor space only taking up about a 20 x 20 area or less but you could still spend endless time getting into all of the accessories, knick knacks and clothing. Nothing is stocked on a shelf; retro styled sunglasses are displayed in a vintage suitcase, a pink rotary phone sits next to gorgeous old fashioned hat pins and accessories. There is a carpet, dainty vintage chairs and a birdcage full of goodies. It’s a scene you get to live in for a short while. There is no fluorescent lit changing rooms. You enter the camper to try on your selections.

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This infamous 1964 authentic camper painted white and pink is fully functional and the main attraction of the Bohemian Vintage Kitten shop. Kim found the camper on a facebook page called Vintage Camper Trailers, a page devoted to campers. It was to be sold in Utah for an amazingly low price. The seller was so far removed from this world of camper trends, he didn’t even have paypal or email, she had pay via western union and contact him on the actual telephone, remember phone calls?, now that’s vintage. She beat out other buyers because the seller wanted his 3rd generation camper to be treated right and not just flipped for profit. He knew it was in the right hands with Kim so, along with her boyfriend Russ, she journeyed through the winter weather to nab this deal. 18 hours later from LA she attains her dream camper. The seller admits, “We just had to meet this girl from LA”.

This camper alone is worth checking out her shop. Trailers are trending but I can truly say this one is a beauty. Authentic furniture and interior with the added Bohemian Kitten Vintage flare complete with a pink chandelier but don’t be fooled by it’s cuteness as it’s also used for actual camping trips and traveling too.

When she’s not minding the shop Kim works as a costume designer and wardrobe stylist. You can find out more about her work and how to shop at her next upcoming events through the links listed below.

Let’s make America fashionable again, buy vintage, shop local and support small businesses Check out Bohemian Vintage Kitten soon, I like it and you will too.

CLICK LINKS to Find Bohemian Kitten Vintage and more on INSTAGRAM & FACEBOOK

       

Cowboy Hats & Yoga Mats

February 2017

Cowboy Hats and Yoga Mats

By Jenna Hawes

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Leann Hayes

Cowboy Hats and Yoga Mats was created by Leann Hayes. Such a silly name must have a fun story.

“It was based on an impromptu park fitness

class and literally by what was in the trunk of my car.

I thought it describes my lifestyle perfectly.

I’ll be a concert tailgate Saturday night, but Sunday morning

you’ll find me at yoga class. Wine and green juice.

Cookies and kale. Rage and rest.

Life is about BALANCE.”

Leann has always known that a career in health was her calling – she has been working in health insurance as her “day job” but her passion is with fitness and fun. Leann carries such a lightweight spirit with a genuine care about others. Her reasons for beginning this brand was because she couldn’t help share her new recipes and fitness class experiences with her friends.

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“I didn’t realize how many women .I am motivating and that I’m making a positive impact on,it’s an incredible feeling I feed off!”

It all began with Tone It Up, and from there Leann has continued to insert and certify herself in POP Pilates, Sports Nutrition, and is a Barre Instructor. Her most recent endeavor is Cowboy Hats and Place Mats- a meal prep service to make healthy meals more accessible to hard working people.  Leann organizes retreats quarterly that are full of healthy snacks, fitness classes, nutritional education,  wine, and plain leisure. The perfect Saturday mix. Enjoy all the fruits of life – hiking with a beautiful ocean view – yoga – toning your tush in Soul Cycle class – and then washing it all down with a fine Rose! Check out her Instagram for upcoming retreats, her meal prep services, and more. Leann is ready and willing to help you with your fitness goals!

“I live in athleisure (clothing designed for working out). I geek out over superfoods. I’m all about studying the science of how certain diets and programs work for certain people.”

Instagram @cowboyhatsandyogamats   Tone It Up Website

 

Made From Scratch

February 2017

Made From Scratch

By Dawn Alexander

“I never really thought, ‘Oh I can do this’..Until I started going around to clubs in LA I thought ‘I can totally do this.. I want to be on that stage”-KRZA

Dancing is the best. You get your friends, sip some drinks and get a cardio workout all in one, At least that’s what I try to do when I’m hitting the dance floor. Not successfully always as I end up spilling my drink on myself and smelling of my favorite tequila and soda combo. I won’t care much,however, because if I’m moving enough to spill my drink then I must be loving what I am hearing. When I’m on DJ KRZA’s dance floor this is definitely the case.

In Los Angeles it can be a bit of a task finding just the right venue playing just the right music to fit your vibe on just the right night. There are so many DJs out there. Seems almost everyone is a DJ or aspires to be one with a turntable in their living room or maybe just an song mixer app set up to speakers. We all live the idea of getting the party started with that great tune or. S but who are the people that devote their time to it? Why did they choose this life?

I got some first hand insight into the making of a DJ just by knowing my friend Carissa, known by DJ KRZA or just KRZA (pronounced Krizah). Her commitment to creating a fun night of new and old music blends will make you want to find her at her next party.

I used to work with KRZA, she was always a bright spirit in the gloomy bar where we served and bartended. She was one of those energetic, positive types trying to break into the creative arts world that usually crushes people through the years in LA. She did not. Her aspirations to pursue acting and music never ceased. She would eventually find herself attending LA Scratch Academy.
She had an interest in broadcasting since college which led her to an internship in news broadcasting. Her drive to create music became stronger as she was later introduced to EDM (Electronic Dance Music). Her and a friend put together a radio show called The Midnight Snack Show airing on campus. She got the the bug in her to share music and moved on to land a job at 971 Amp radio’s promotion team. This job sent her off to various events and it was at these events that she would see DJs performing and wonder if she too could enter this world.

All it took was hearing that such a school existed, a school that taught you how to DJ and she signed up immediately. “It was the best decision I ever made”, She said regarding signing up for Scratch Academy Los Angeles. She signed up for a one week DJ 101 boot camp in 2013. “I signed up and never looked back”img_7105

 

KRZA wasn’t just trying to look cool at clubs she wanted to master her craft. She found sincere interest in the process by attending the school and this showed in her inquiries to a DJ DanniR one night at a bar in Venice, CA. He enjoyed taking on the new and eager new DJ. He answered all of her nerdy tech questions and a friendship was was formed. After hearing her set on soundcloud he offered her a gig opening for him. Though a not yet “certified DJ” with the Academy, (shhh don’t tell Scratch) she accepted the challenge. The event was at Sharkeez in Manhattan Beach and she only had one week to prepare. Despite her nerves she just said yes. “That first set was the only time I ever planned out from beginning to end” She continues, “I felt a surge of confidence, I can do this”

EDM, moombahton (which I just learned is a fusion of house and reggaeton) and electronic reggaeton are passions of KRZA’s. She prefers underground venues to explore her creative outlet with these genres. She also uses her radio show to do this.  The show is called The Grocerie List which recently moved from Wild One Radio via Tune In to a 24/7 DJ station featuring any and all kinds of music. The concept is having a shopping list of songs. She has categories such as “The Freezer List” which is the chill jams and the “Liquor section” features what she describes as the “Turn Up”

When spinning live at an event she believes in the unspoken DJ rule “one for me one for you” She is sure to play what she knows the crowd wants to hear but also she takes advantage and pride in introducing something new to people too. “Im very much about having good energy…You just have to smile, everything is a lesson”
“I can’t not dance when I DJ unless then I am not feeling and that’s a definite sign I should change it up….and that’s when you gotta get creative or read the crowd”

“It’s reading the crowd, they’re taking it in but also adding in a bit of who they are” KRZA on what makes a good DJ.

She believes that she is creating the groove and the vibe so when she plays a “hot” song, which doesn’t only mean the most current popular song but also means “hot” pertaining to what that particular crowd at the moment is into. It could be top 40 hit or an oldie.
Krza explains, “Like if you play “Next Episode” and you don’t get to Nate Dog, people will get disappointed” She hears you people and don’t worry! She’s going to make sure you like it and feel it too.img_7106

It’s so refreshing to know DJs that have a passion for spreading music to the masses of all kinds. It’s great to see that not all DJs are just trying to stand on an elevated platform and push buttons. DJ KRZA will make you happy and keep you dancing. Get to know her at one of her resident venues and listen to her soundcloud and radio show by clicking the links below.
Meet you on the dance floor.

 

Click Links Below:

Instagram @djKrza  Soundcloud KRZA   Twitter @djkrza  

Find KRZA spinningTuesdays at Circle Bar and Saturdays at American Junkie

 

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