Grandes Maestros at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles

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Hi friends! Earlier this year I got to check out Grandes Maestros, a current exhibit (hurry, it closes September 13th!) at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. The visit was part of a field trip offered to WeAllGrow attendees. Now to date, I’ve never met a museum I didn’t at least sort of like but NHM LA is one of my absolutely favorite museums. You probably already know by now but I’m a *sucker* for animals. Not only does the Natural History Museum have beautiful dioramas, a seasonal butterfly exhibit (and a seasonal spider one), but it also has a newly renovated dinosaur hall. If you’re in LA, tourist or long-time resident, the Natural History Museum is definitely worth a visit! Sooner than later too if you want to catch the stunning Grandes Maestros exhibit!

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The exhibit opens with this breathtaking piece, titled “Jaguars” by Juana Gomez Ramirez. She is an artist from Mexico in her early 30s that loves cats. Clearly, we are soulmates. Also – my photo does not do this piece justice. If you look at the photo above, you can see some of the detail that went into these beautiful cats but experiencing their presence in person is an absolute must. They are majestic.

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The exhibit features living folk artists from over 22 countries, including Mexico, other Latin and South American countries, Spain, and Portugal. There are amazing pieces of art made from clay, paper, textiles, metal, wood, and more. I know my post makes it seem like there are only artworks of bugs and cats but that’s only because I’m showing you some of my favorites. There is SO much more to see. I’m not exaggerating when I say that every piece was breathtaking. I could have spent the entire day in the one exhibit.

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Each piece is amazing. This mask is gorgeous, intimidating, regal, and so much more. There is so much detail put into it all the way down to the jaguar’s spots.

Every summer, my parents would take my brother and I to Mexico. On Saturdays, we would go to the swap meet where local artists were selling art they had made. My dad would let me brother and I each pick out something to buy. I always would find some sort of animal piece or hand-painted miniature dishes or furniture for my dolls at home. Many of my dolls were from Mexico too. In the winter, every bed in my house had a woven blanket from Mexico – I still have two. My Hello Kitty cobeja that I got from Mexico as a teen is the finishing touch on my freshly made bed today. I have painted animals and clay whistles from Mexico City and Oaxaca scattered around my bedroom.  I grew up with an appreciation and connection to Latino folk art that has stayed with me to this day so being able to see the Grandes Maestros exhibit spoke to my heart in profound ways

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I really hope you can make time to check out the Grandes Maestros exhibit at the Natural History Museum. I promise you won’t be disappointed. You can plan your visit here.

Picnic Perfect Salad Recipe with Farm Fresh to You

I received this product as part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media® and Farm Fresh To You, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade  #farmfreshtotable http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Picnic Perfect Salad Recipe with Farm Fresh to You

Hi friends! Have you gotten outside to enjoy a picnic yet this summer? What are you waiting for? Planning a picnic menu is easy, especially if you have Farm Fresh to You delivering fresh organic fruits and vegetables to your door. Personally, I sometimes get overwhelmed at the market trying to figure out what to buy and make but having my fresh foods delivered straight to me helped me get creative. It’s like having a personal shopper, only for your fresh fruits and veggies! I decided to make a delicious vegan salad and a summer fruit cobbler – add something to drink and a snack or two and you have a perfect picnic spread.

I grew up having picnics every summer vacation. My family would pack up for either a day trip or a camping trip and we never left without my mom’s picnic basket stuffed full. I loved watching her carefully pack food, plates and utensils into her basket with only her and I knowing what we would be eating later in the day. She was the queen of picnic sandwiches or burritos and she never forgot the snacks and sides to go with them. When we weren’t going on picnics, I was obsessed with playing with her picnic basket. I created huge picnic spreads with my toy foods for my dolls and friends. There was something magical about trying to fit my pretend foods into the compartments of her picnic basket and then unpacking them outside in the backyard on my favorite blanket.

As an adult, one of my favorite things to do is to get a bunch of food ready and go outside. It’s almost always picnic weather here in Southern California, but there is something special about a picnic in the summer. When you’ve been outside in the sun, maybe after a hike in the mountains or swimming in the ocean, diving into a picnic basket always makes the food taste that much better! I love making food for my friends and I love eating outside. Picnics are a win-win for me!

So let me tell you how I went from a bunch of fresh fruits & veggies:

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to a delicious and fresh picnic *and* I still had fruits & veggies leftover!Farm Fresh to You Picnic with Picnic Perfect Salad and Summer Cobbler

Like I said earlier, I get overwhelmed at the market or farmers market with what to pick, what would go well with what, or what I could use in multiple dishes. Having Farm Fresh to You send me a box of seasonal, fresh, organic fruits and veggies was a lifesaver. Instead of worrying about what to buy, I was able to get creative and figure out how to use what I had. I could make *so many* yummy recipes just from one box!

Farm Fresh to You Mixed Fruit and Veggie Box

One of the cool things about Farm Fresh to You is the ability to set your delivery schedule. You can choose to have a box delivered weekly, biweekly or monthly. You can also choose what size box to receive. The one pictured here is the “Mixed Fruit and Veggies – More” box. As you can see – it’s a lot of food! It would be good for people who cook and eat fresh foods often, for picnic, potluck or bbq prep like I did here, or to feed multiple people. If you don’t need that much in your box, you can choose a smaller one or if you need more, you can choose that too! There are also different boxes to choose from based on your needs – with all the food coming from local farmers. My favorite thing about ordering from Farm Fresh to You is once you select your box, you can go in and choose what you do or don’t want to receive.  As a girl who doesn’t like onions, this was essential to me. 😉

Farm Fresh to You Picnic Perfect Salad

Picnic Perfect Salad

Serves: 4 as a main course, 6-8 as a side
Prep time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

3-4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
3 corn cobs
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 heirloom tomatoes
2 corno di toro peppers
1 lemon or 2 limes
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Roast your corn over a grill (or prepare it however you like to eat it).

2. While your corn is roasting, prepare your veggies. Chop your lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro. Prepare your lemon or limes to squeeze.

3. Once your corn is done, remove the husks and cut off the kernels. Add all of the veggies into a bowl, squeeze the juice from your lemon or limes over it, add the oil and salt and pepper to taste, toss and you’re done!

Picnic Perfect Salad Recipe with Farm Fresh to You

The salad is simple but flavorful. It’s amazing what a difference organic veggies make taste-wise! You could easily substitute whatever veggies you have on hand. Use a different lettuce, add a chopped orange or apple, add some nuts or chia seeds – the variations are endless. Go with whatever is in season at the moment and you’ll have yourself a delicious salad that’s great for picnics, potlucks, or barbecues!Farm Fresh to You Picnic Spread

I really want you to try Farm Fresh to You! You can save $15 off of your first box with promo code WEAVE15Click here to see if they deliver to your area & then get ready for your box of fresh organic fruits and veggies delivered right to your door!

What will you make with your Farm Fresh to You fruits and veggies? What’s your favorite picnic perfect dish?

7 Ways to Show up for People with Mental Illness

7 Ways to Show Up for People with Mental Illness

Hi friends! Today I wanted to talk about how to show up for loved ones (or just people in general) that suffer from mental illness. I want to specify that I am taking about mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and other mood-based behavioral mental illnesses because those are the ones I have the most personal experience with. In short, these may not work for everyone and may not meet everyone’s needs – I am totally open to talking about more inclusive ways of interacting with our people with mental illness. These could also be useful for people who don’t suffer too because everyone has bad or tough days right*? I’m not a professional, but these are things I have learned and try to do with my interpersonal relationships, both as someone who suffers from depression and from multiple forms of anxiety and as someone who has dated and generally interacted with people with mental illness.

  • Communicate. The biggest piece that is woven through these tips is communication. Not everyone is self-aware or in touch with their needs, but if you or your loved one are, you can discuss them. Like what your needs look like when you’re having a hard time.
  • Try not to fix them. I know it is hard to tolerate seeing a loved one in pain or going through a hard time. Our usual response is to do whatever we can to stop the pain right? When you end up trying to fix a person with mental illness, you run the risk of expending energy to meet needs that don’t need to be met and/or creating an unsustainable dependency for the person you are trying to fix. On top of that, the simple fact is that you can’t. But you can cause damage in the process if you try to.
  • Check in, sometimes often. So now you have either articulated your needs, heard the needs of your loved one or both. Great! But guess what, these can change and shift so it’s important to check in regularly with yourself and/or the person if you can.
  • Negotiate. Sometimes your needs will be in direct conflict with your loved ones needs. Negotiating emotional space for moments when that happens is crucial. Relationships are not always equal and can require us to hold space and love for other people in our relationships even when we have little room for that. Communicating ways to deal with this can help ease expectations you may not be able to meet.
  • Set boundaries. And communicate them. Figure out your boundaries about how much support you can lend to your loved one and in what capacity. This is incredibly important if both/all people are dealing with a disability or hardship. If you know you can give little support, consider encouraging and helping this person access other means of support.
  • Have a support system. That isn’t exclusively tied to your loved one so that you don’t need to rely on them to meet all of your emotional needs. Having a support system in place gives you something to rely on during struggling times when your loved one can’t show up for you for whatever reasons. This support system can include a network (or even a handful) of people you feel safe coming to, self-soothing techniques that you can use on yourself, or a plan with steps to do to help you reach a more manageable state. Your loved one may see you in ways you can’t so they may have good ideas for your support system too!
  • Practice. Practice communicating, checking in, negotiating, self-soothing, reaching out, whatever helps you. And practice ways to not take your loved one’s struggle personally while still giving yourself space to feel your feelings. Depending on what this person struggles with, the severity, the ways it affects them personally, and more, sustaining a relationship with a mentally ill or disabled person can be tough. But not necessarily hopeless.

I struggle a lot with not taking things personally. Because of my giant Leo ego, I tend to go there first when I sense that something is up with people in my life. And also because of that ego, I will internalize it because I don’t want anyone to know I’m having a hard time. I’m learning how to let it out and ask about it, to communicate. I’m also learning that taking things personally hurts myself the most because it’s not about me. Assuming things are about me can create problems that aren’t there and deny people in my life the opportunity to communicate directly. There is a  delicate balance between intuition and necessary independence. I know I don’t need to carry that weight unless and until it’s presented to me. This has been an important and necessary lesson.

I hope this list helps you in your partnerships and relationships like it has helped me. If you can think of anything else that I missed or that you think is helpful, I’d love to hear about it!

 

*This is not to equate dealing with mental illness as the same as having a bad day – although many people with mental illness, myself included, will tell you that some days are ok and some are bad. This can be directly tied to our mental illness or just life – there is generally a difference.

Look Mom! I’m in Reflekt Magazine!

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Ok, so my mom doesn’t read my blog but when I received Issue 11 of Reflekt Magazine, I immediately ran over to show her! Reflekt is a really rad independent magazine based in Los Angeles. It’s all about style and culture in a way that’s personal and less commercial, more accessible and less cookie-cutter. Basically, Reflekt is the coolest! I’ve been a huge fan ever since I found out about it and am so happy to be a part of a magazine that showcases real people and their styles.

Here’s how the Reflekt team describes what they do:

Reflekt Magazine focuses on featuring personal style of our celebrated Muses, style tribes around the world, subcultural and cultural fashion, as well as cheeky and insightful articles based on fashion theory, style anthropology and identity in order to celebrate your wonderfully weird self!

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When staff writer, Janet, approached me about doing an interview, I was a little nervous. I had met her only once before at the OC Zine Fest and I didn’t really know what to expect. I’m usually pretty awkward in person and I am a *thinker* so it takes me awhile to answer questions on the spot sometimes. Because of this, I almost always ask for questions ahead of time or like to do online/email interviews. But Janet was so sweet and a total pro with my awkwardness – we have since become friends! Surprisingly, I ended up talking about so much! Like the intersection of feminism and fashion or how going to a catholic high school has influenced my fashion (how about how I am wearing a vintage uniform skirt here? It’s so deliciously preppy). Or how my grandma’s style was and is a total inspiration to me. I lived in one of her brown chunky knitted sweaters all winter!reflektlegscrossed

Of course after showing my mom that I am in a magazine, I curled up outside with a snack and devoured the entire issue. I was super excited to see some other friends included in it and I love how the spirit theme was interpreted in a myriad of ways. There are some really beautiful photo shoots (my favorite is this dreamy one called A Folklore that is straight out of a fairy tale), stories from some rad local style icons, and some cute/weird fashion and beauty tips (like make-up looks inspired by some classic horror movies – which if you know me, I am ALL ABOUT). I loved everything about it!reflektlooking

Outfit details: 
Pink cat-eye glasses: Firmoo
Green polka dot top: Old Navy
Gray pleated skirt: vintage, thrifted
Floral sneakers: Old Navy
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If you’re looking for a magazine that will inspire you and show you real people and real fashion, grab a copy of Reflekt Magazine! Plus you know, I’m in this issue so there’s reason enough right? *wink* Pick up a copy and support independent press, yes?

You can pick up your own copy of Issue 11: Spirit over at Reflekt Magazine (ps there’s a digital version too!) to read my interview and the rest of the issue. Issue 12, on Travel, is also out now. You can find Reflekt Magazine on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Youtube too!

Help Me Get to New York for BlogHer15!

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Hi friends! I need your help to get to New York! I am a proud #BlogHer15: Experts Among Us Voices of the Year Honoree and have the opportunity to accept the award in person at the BlogHer15 conference in New York City!

Last year I wrote a blog post about my experience growing up as a fat person and how that played out in some of my personal relationships. I wrote about the stigma and invisibility I experienced as a fat woman, particularly a queer fat Latina woman.

My story is not unique – so many people responded sharing similar stories. Now I get to fly across the country to present my writing to a huge group of bloggers and social media superstars. I get to share my story and in a way, the story of so many others.

I began blogging four years ago. Skinned Knees began as an eating disorder recovery blog – to help keep me accountable in my recovery and to shift the narrative of how we talk about those with eating disorders to include people of color, people of different sizes, incomes, sexualities, genders, and more. Today, Skinned Knees focuses on feminism, body positivity, and culture.

Blogging has given me the opportunity to use my voice to do something important for myself and my community. Being able to physically accept the BlogHer15 Voices of the Year award would be a dream come true, validation for the years I’ve spent writing my heart out, and motivation to keep doing it.

Here’s where you can help! I am asking for donations to cover the cost of a round-trip flight from Los Angeles (where I live) to New York City, plus transportation and/or housing costs. If you have access to airline miles you can share or know of a place I can stay in New York City, please be in touch!

Anything you can donate would be incredibly appreciated – literally every $1 counts. Thank you for believing in me and what I do!