Mazzy Star Anyone?

I’ve been off music for the last few weeks.  Media deprivation helps clear my head.  However, this morning when my iPhone synced to my car it automatically began playing music from my iTunes.  I flinched to shut it off but the song captured me.  It took me back to December 1994, sitting on the floor in my bedroom beside my stereo, playing this CD on repeat.  I paused and sat in the 20 year old memory.  It struck me that 20 years later this song still seemingly plays just for me.

Enjoy this flashback friends, but don’t dwell too long.  Spending too much time looking back does not serve.  Remember that nothing that’s supposed to be yours gets away.

Please love this with me… xo

Buddha Board

Lately I’ve been spending time with a dear friend who is suffering from what she describes as the Holiday Blues. She doesn’t want to shop, decorating the house is a chore, and she’s pretty much getting by on her practiced smile and antidepressants.  She’s sad.   Her lover is gone.  Being sad this time of year sucks.  The Christmas music, the crowds, the energy of the season is especially heartbreaking for those not really feeling it. I get that. She’s not the only one in pain. Last week a friend of mine told me her dear friend and tennis partner surrendered to bone cancer. In the news, a drunk driver in Redondo Beach plowed through a crowd at a church and killed 4 people. All these are reminders that the holidays aren’t happy for everyone. In fact, I would argue they are more difficult.

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Yesterday I saw Ivy-league educated former monk and leading American Buddhist teacher, Jack Kornfield on Super Soul Sunday. He spoke about the importance of staying present. He said our thoughts about the future are only thoughts and our thoughts about the past do not matter because they are past. Life is being lived right now, with every breath. He reminded us that if we live too much in the past or the future, we miss life. At the end of the show Oprah featured the Tibetan practice of creating intricate sand mandalas that often take hundreds of hours to create and then get wiped away upon completion as a reminder of the Buddhist principle of non- attachment.

This reminded me- I recently bought myself a Buddha board. I was playing with the one on display at Pulp, my favorite stationary/gift shop on La Brea and Beverly. A Buddha Board is like a chalkboard, but instead of chalk, a Japanese paintbrush is dipped in water.   You can doodle any word or symbol on the board and then watch it fade until it disappears as the water dries. Its purpose, like the sand mandala, is to keep you present and to remind you to stay unattached because the reality is, nothing in this life is permanent. Not jobs, not lovers, not wealth. Not art or wishes. Not moms or dads or sisters or brothers. Not even countries! Who remembers Prussia? Anyway, everything is in constant motion, constant evolution going somewhere or returning, expanding or shrinking, growing or dying. Every day granted is a blessing in this life. It’s a privilege to live another day. It’s one day closer to death.

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Maybe Shakespeare had a Buddha Board….

I’m getting good at drawing designs on the board. Each stroke of my wet little brush looks like effortless art. I create beautiful doodles and immediately feel a longing for it as I know I can’t get attached. It will be gone soon. This analogy fits life too.

When you spend time marinating in memories of days long past with a lover who is long gone you waste the time you are in now. Memories are like a beautiful Buddha Board masterpiece that one is clinging too even as it fades, going, going, gone. Instead of standing in the grace of love, or settling into gratitude for having loved and been loved that way, we resist, cry, compromise, and bargain. Then one day, inevitably, he or she is completely absent. No text or call or email. No Facebook message, or subliminal Pinterest post. No tweet, yelp message or Instagram like. You are left with a blank slate. Sometimes it is years before you can appreciate the freedom and beauty of a blank slate and accept the gift of starting again. It’s easier to cling to memories, missed opportunities, and wallow in regret. I get that too. These feelings are real and tangible. You can physically feel the edges and cracks of disappointment and longing in your heart. Even as I write this, I can feel the scars on my own heart start to swell and tear again because the wounds from a lost soul mate are deep and easily refreshed. But then, mid tear, I remember gratitude. As should you.  Most people never experience a love like that, but you did, or you wouldn’t be in the pain of grief, bitterness and nostalgia. Remember that even though you know how the story ends, you would still jump in and do it all over again,  just to feel his eyes on you one more time. For there are other loves, but never the same love twice.

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Chin up darling.  Storms don’t last forever.  xo Dre

#justgotjingled

IMG_8530I was lucky to be selected by leading apparel retailer, JCPenney, to attend iHeart Radio’s Fiesta Latina at the Los Angeles Forum this past Saturday, November 22.

As a sponsor of the event, JCPenney hosted a style and beauty lounge for Hispanic Media at the legendary Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood. As part of their #justgotjingled Holiday campaign, Los Angeles bloggers and journalists were treated to a fabulous afternoon of glamour, fashion and fun with the makeup team from Sephora, hair styling provided by JCPenney Salon, and JCPenney stylists for wardrobe consultations.

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I was charmed by the beautiful accessory selection and trendy clothes featured on the upstairs floor of the villa. They had some awesome rocker looks from their private and designer labels.  There was a variety of styles to accommodate the diverse group of women.  We were all ages and sizes, but there was something for everyone.

I was also taken with the variety of beauty services offered at JCPenney.  Not only do they have a brilliant partnership with Sephora in-store,  they also have the JCPenney Salon.  Shameless Plug for my favorite shampoo and conditioner from Alterna.

In addition, the villa at the Sunset Marquis Hotel was accessorized with some gorgeous accent pieces, tableware and bedding from JCPenney’s Home department.  There was eye candy everywhere!

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Everything was super chic and well within budget.  What’s not to love?  After the first class treatment I received, its safe to say I’m a fan.  Check out JustGotJingled.com, where you may find inspiration, weekly challenges and heartwarming videos demonstrating random acts of giving.

Black Friday: This year, JCPenney starts holiday shopping early at 5 pm on Thanksgiving Day. Early birds will be greeted with a free 2014 edition Disney snow globe and special Jingle Bell envelope containing a $10 coupon redeemable immediately in store. One out of every 100 coupons will be worth $100 off $100 or more for purchases made Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve.

After we got all dolled up- we were chauffeured to the show!! The iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina featured some of the biggest names in Latin Music.

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I almost cried when I heard Ricki Martin was opening. I’ve loved him with since his Menudo days! Who remembers when he was a telenovela star??  Anyway, besides Ricki, the line up included Prince Royce, Jesse Y Joy, Pit Bull, Daddy Yankee, Alejandra Guzman and several others.  Everyone was ah-mazing but I have to say I left with a huge crush on Colombian reggaeton artist J Balvin!  I think he stole the show :-)  Enjoy this video and have a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving beloveds!

THANK YOU JCPenney from the bottom of my heart for the beautiful experience.  I will never forget it!

xoxo Dre

Columbus Day.

Christopher Columbus

Given the atrocities that occurred to the native people in the “new world” at the hands of the European explorers, a history that I didn’t really learn about until college I might add, Columbus day has always left a bad taste in my mouth.  A few years back, while on vacation, I remember seeing his actual tomb- an elaborate display in a cathedral in Madrid, Spain.  Even then, in the holiest of churches, I sort of wanted to kick it.  Today I read this essay from a blog called The Oatmeal.  I found it so extremely enlightening that I thought it was  important to share it with all of you today, on Columbus Day.  All of the information in this essay came from A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn, and Lies My Teacher Told Me, by James W. Loewen, both of which uses primary sources such as eyewitness accounts, journal entries, and letters from Christopher Columbus himself.  After you read it, we can all work on replacing Columbus Day with Bartolome Day!   Who’s with me!?

Stilettos and broken bottles…

KOL_artPicture it:  After midnight at Hamburger Mary’s in West Hollywood, late fall 2010.  A drag queen with a banging body in a black sequence mini-dress takes the stage and performs Robyn’s electronic heart wrenching hit, Dancing On My Own.  Even though the song is about stalking some dude, I connected to it immediately.  Don’t ask.  Anyway, last night while playing on YouTube (instead of doing homework) I found this haunting rendition of her song from one of my favorite bands, The Kings of Leon.  I had to share it with you. Enjoy.  xo Dre

P.S. Does anyone knows where I can download this song?  I want it!

The Visit

sick-girlNo need for alarm, but I am currently recovering from a minor setback that pretty much left me bedbound for 7 days. I literally didn’t step outside my house for a full 7 days and although I’ve been cleared to resume life as usual, I’m still not feeling like myself. I spent those sick days in and out of consciousness sitting upright in an elaborate recovery camp I set up for myself in my living room. The essentials of my camp included pills- lots of them (prescribed of course), my iPhone, a bottle of water, a myriad of fashion and beauty magazines, and the remote control. As the days passed I got through all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad and the full season of Orange is the New Black. It just occurred to me that both of those shows are jail themed. That’s fitting actually. Anyway, lying around all day living on a steady diet of water, pills and soft foods like smoothies and Trader Joe’s Belgian chocolate pudding wasn’t so bad. Looking back now, with the prospect of going back to work tomorrow, I have to say it was fun! My inner 14-year-old was all over it…

Perks of my condition included:

  • A loving 24-hour caregiver by my side carefully policing, I mean monitoring, my every move.
  • A regular stream of visits from all of my favorite people.
  • Fresh flowers!! They really do help in these situations…
  • Lots of phone calls and texts from friends.
  • Mom visited me a lot and even made me arroz con leche!
  • I got to play on iTunes without any time restrictions. I love this right now. You may not recognize it, but its a Smashing Pumpkins cover…

So the other night, several days into my recovery, around 4 am- I woke up from an uncomfortable sleep. When I opened my eyes, there was an angel standing in the corner of my bedroom. She/He was HUGE and was sort of like a golden outline of light- wings and all- as big as the room. She was only there for a second and then vanished. I knew it was an angel and I wasn’t afraid. Do I sound a little koo koo? Bare with me… or blame the drugs…

arch angel heart Now I realize I had been on a regular dose of Percocet and sugar for days at this point, but I swear I saw her in that instant and then she was gone in the same blink, but I promise it was not a dream. I was definitely awake and soberish…

Back in April of this year, I saw a psychic, a woman who knew nothing about me. The reading was a gift for my birthday from a dear friend. The psychic told me that Archangel Gabriel is my guardian angel. Gabriel is female, FYI. She also told me that my “guides” were telling her I was a writer. I was amazed as I had told her I was in sales and never mentioned my education or writing aspirations. She said, “You must write.” I already knew this, but its like Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed”. Anyway, the whole Gabriel thing totally made sense to me. Doreen Virtue, a spiritual psychologist who works with angels claims, “Archangel Gabriel inspires and motivates artists and communicators, helping them to overcome fear and procrastination.” Interesting connection there, right?

So as you can imagine, after my angelic visitation, I really couldn’t sleep. I grabbed my iPhone and googled “gold angel”. Guess who the gold angel is??? Archangel Gabriel!!

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Doreen Virtue reports that Archangel Gabriel is the angel of communication and helps with:

▪ Adopting a child

▪ Artists and art-related projects

▪ Child conception and fertility

▪ Journalism and writing

Here’s the part that gets crazy. Well, crazier. Earlier that day, my best friend invited me to an adoption service/ceremony for her daughter, who she and her husband have been fostering and trying to adopt for years. This has been a LONG road for them and finally having a date to finalize custody was cause for celebration, even in my sedated state. In addition, recently, I too have been imagining a baby of my own- one with two legs rather than four. Lastly, I am in the final stretch of a master’s degree in the field of Communication from the school of journalism at USC. Given what I’ve learned about Gabriel, for her to make a cameo appearance in my bedroom at 4 am, even just for a blinking instant, was no mistake. I am grateful for the divine connection.

Invocation from Doreen Virtue:

Before beginning any artistic or communication project, ask Gabriel to guide and oversee your activities by saying aloud or mentally:

“Archangel Gabriel, I ask for your presence as I [describe the project]. Please open my creative channels so that I may be truly inspired. Help me open my mind so that I may give birth to unique ideas. And please help me sustain the energy and motivation to follow through on this inspiration. Thank you, Gabriel.”

Pretty sure I’ll be invoking her daily.

If you would like more information on the Angel realm or are curious about a reading, check out Marybeth Murphy. She is based in Orange County, CA. I loved her.

You can also look up expert and author Doreen Virtue.