Designer Spotlight x Studio Mari
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Studio Mari is a Los Angeles based jewelry studio by Mari Beltran.  Each piece is first created by Mari by hand before being cast by local artisans.  Her designs are sculptural, distinctive, and timeless.  I had the honor of photographing some of her pieces (analog and digital).  

The Joan ring came to me at a very pivotal time in my life, and it has become a staple object that reminds me of my own tenacity and individuality.  The description reads:  “this ring is all about the swerve - veering off course to find new adventures.”  When I slide it onto my ring finger, I consciously take-in the act of bravery of diving into the unknown to start anew in New Mexico.  It's only fitting that Mari’s work is inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe.  

The Crescent rings are incredibly versatile, and I love to wear them both together and separately.  They are inspired by the waxing and waning of the moon, and I always feel this in the feminine power they exude.

I am excited to see what Mari continues to create as her studio grows and evolves.

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Stripped: Meeting My Shadow
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I thought that following the voice to come here to New Mexico would potentially relieve me of the seemingly bottomless anguish I was experiencing, but I never expected that it would instead bring me to meet my shadow. There is no denying that darkness lives within all of us, yet the importance lies not in its existence but rather in how we choose to engage with it. I hid from my own darkness for so long. I built walls of black-and-white boundaries around me so that I wouldn’t have to take on the underbelly, for fear of truly meeting myself. I stuffed it deep into corners of my body, only to repress my true appetite for self-exploration and connection. I concealed my intensity in order to exist within a culture that champions aloofness. This torment only grew into an abyss of longing that would eventually lead me to unearth the roots of who I truly am.  I needed the physical space to explore this, to drive into foreign sunsets and foreign lands in order to gain the metaphysical space to allow my innermost fears and desires to reveal themselves.  Now, instead of building walls, I’m tearing them down. I’m allowing myself to meet my shadow with my gaze. To hold it. To honour it. To allow it to breathe and to permeate every part of my being. I’m permitting my life to fall apart and to get messy. I’m permitting myself to fall apart and to get messy. I am more authentic in my unravelling than in my needing to be “good.” And here I lie, naked, stripped, and raw. The dirt is exposed, but it only rots so that I can renew. 

-an excerpt from my piece in Jane Magazine issue five - you can purchase here

A little expansion on this:

Rather than denouncing people and situations because “I deserve better,” I’ve been showing up for these sticky, grey areas.  I’ve been engaging, listening, and learning.  I thought that my standards and morals carried too much integrity to engage with anything that was not in the realm of what I felt was “right” for me.  However, there was nativity in this for me - shadow work I was too afraid to dive into, parts of myself I was too afraid to look at.  We are often taught that if we show up for these types of things than we aren’t leaving room for better things to come through.  For some of us that may be true, but that hasn’t been my path.  My work/learning involves going there. 

I’m allowing myself to break down, to be a fucking mess.  To not have the answers.  To be the least intelligent person in the room.  To not give a shit.   To give too many shits.  To fuck up.  To not do the right thing.  Not because I don’t care for myself, but because I do.  I can trust myself.  I trust that when something is not in alignment or me that I will set a boundary and speak my truth.  But if I don’t allow myself to engage at all, I am missing the opportunity to learn from a situation or another person.  We don’t need to denounce the dark to get to the light, but rather to face it.   

What do you feel you have to write off? What do you feel shameful of? What situations/people have been triggering for you regarding this? I encourage you to explore these questions in your journal. You can use your objects as helpful tools as you do this work. I pause and practice rituals to ground into my body, and to encourage deeper support and release.

Objects & Attachment: Embracing the Ephemeral
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Paige Geffen_New Mexico Home_Krista Peters

We don’t need to own things in order to connect with them.  I am living in someone else’s home.  I have a private room with some of my personal belongings, but everything else is not mine - from the plates and mugs I eat and drink from to the old dresser I pulled out of the closet to put in my room that I deeply cherish - it’s all temporary.  I can accept the ephemeral nature and see that these objects are serving me now, for an indefinite amount of time, knowing that they will leave my life at some point.  This is a beautiful way to practice non-attachment.

Objects - whether ours, borrowed, etc. - can help us to sit with ourselves, to pause, and to pay attention.  An object can be sacred without ownership.   A ritual can be sacred without permanence of practice.  While I work with my clients on setting up rituals based on their needs, as we grow and change, our needs also change.  We may have to work on other areas and introduce new ways of doing things and/or modify previous practices.  Therefore, the most significant way to do this work is to check-in with yourself in regards to where you are night now, in this moment.  

The last thing I want is for people to feel that they need to go out and acquire new things to practice this work.  You can do this work sitting on the sidewalk with piece of gravel or walking in nature with a stone from the dirt.  The more we recognize that we don’t ‘have’ anything, and the more we see that our deep, personal truth is what guides us, the less we will rely on our stuff and instead shift the focus to rely on our inner selves.  We practice with the physical in order to access the metaphysical.  If you can learn to allow your cup of tea to help you to pause, to breathe, and to ground into your body, you can learn to do this anywhere with anything (or even absent of that ‘thing’).  When you stop to notice the sensation you feel when sliding your favorite ring on your finger or your comfy winter socks on your feet, you connect to the innate wisdom of your body.  The ring and the socks won’t give you power or self assurance, but the action of connecting to yourself will. 

I realize that we typically don’t purchase rings and socks to practice self-connection. I am all for surrounding yourself with beautiful items.  Beauty is a driving force in my life.  Walking in nature and seeing the sun set over the mountains is a prime example of observing and experiencing beauty.  Putting on an outfit that makes me feel amazing in my skin is also an example of this. Here is a quote I’ve previously written on my perspective of beauty: “To me, beauty without intention really isn’t beautiful.  It feels empty.  We can emphasize the marriage of beauty and intention by realizing that they are the same.  That beauty comes from mindfulness, from nature, from slowing down, from our hearts.  Beauty looks like truth.”

Yes, it’s obvious that we can find beauty in nature and in our beloved objects, but can we also find beauty in disorder?  Not so long ago, my life was a complete fucking mess.  I was living in tremendous chaos everyday.  Everything I was experiencing, no matter how messy and no matter how much I hated it, was bringing me closer to my truth.  I was being cracked open to look at all of my shadowy parts in order to embrace them.  This work saved me.  I learned to ground in the midst of groundlessness.  I was able to find beauty in small moments and in overlooked objects. Most importantly, I was able to find the beauty within myself. To accept myself, flaws and all. This is an ongoing process that I am always working on. I am not a perfect ball of sunshine devoid of insecurities. However, I am committed to continue to tear down conditioning in order to connect to the roots of who I am. You, too, can do this.

Notes x Emme Parsons
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I’ve been in love with Emme Parsons footwear as soon as she launched. Her pieces are elegant and sophisticated, yet very wearable. Emme works with “small family-run factories and tanneries that are ethically run and adhere to the highest environmental standards.” Each pair is handmade in Tuscany, Italy. Browse beautiful shoes here. Interview below.

"To collect mindfully rather than consume mindlessly" is the philosophy behind Paige Geffen's Object & Us, a consultancy that seeks to redefine the individual's relationship to the things that they acquire. After years as an art director and interior designer in Los Angeles, Geffen recently moved to Sante Fe, where the new landscape and desert stillness further inspires her approach to finding balance and personal connection to the material world.

How would you describe your style?

Right now I'd describe it as 70s Lauren Hutton meets 90s Prada. Androgynous, sleek, and subtly sexy. I love classic lines and menswear-inspired items. I live in vintage levi's and trousers, but sometimes I like to put on a beautiful dress or pair my pants with a very feminine silhouetted top.

Who is currently inspiring you? Sartorially, culturally, or otherwise?

The open landscape of the American Southwest. People I've met here in New Mexico who were, like me, drawn to the land, the history, and the magnetic pull to be here. Sartorially, I've been really inspired by Timothee Chalamet's style. He wears a suit magnificently well.

 What is your current favorite shoe from Emme Parsons?

Right now I’m really into the Certo in Cream because it can transition well between seasons.

How would you style it for a full day on the go?

With vintage Re-work B Sides straight-leg ankle jeans, a Shaina Mote statement top, and perhaps a pop of color in an accessory such as a Clyde beret.

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Guilty (or not so guilty) pleasure?

I have an obsession with Honey Mamma’s chocolate bars. Most people say they’re so rich that they can only handle bits at a time, but I usually eat the entire bar in one sitting.

 Can you tell us about Object & Us and how it came to be?

Object & Us teaches us about our internal selves by exploring our external surroundings. It's a bridge to the metaphysical through the physical. Our motto is "to collect mindfully rather than to consume mindlessly." We can look to our objects as tools that help us to live intentionally and to practice mindfulness. We are so accustomed to identifying ourselves with our stuff, yet our things have nothing to do with who we are. Who we are comes from within.

I had my interiors business for a few years, and I wanted to translate that into something more fulfilling to me. It's a very consumer-driven business, and I wanted to shift that. I wasn't quite sure how it would look, but I knew I wanted to explore objects and space. I felt an inner turmoil about loving furniture and clothing and objects, while also having a deep respect for the environment. It felt like a terrible contradiction. I became obsessed with marrying beauty with intention—that they could be one in the same. That we could live mindfully and consciously without having to live in stark, empty spaces. As I was developing all of this, I went through an incredibly difficult personal trial. I didn't have a home for nearly a year and then had to get rid of all of my belongings, all while being extremely sick. This experience really pushed the concept forward, as I was getting deep, grueling lessons on what I was exploring. Object & Us was born from this place—a place of rawness and truth.

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 What are some of your most treasured objects and why?

I got rid of nearly all of my belongings prior to moving to New Mexico due to mold exposure. I’m treasuring everything I have right now because I know what it’s like to part with meaningful objects. It’s interesting to start entirely fresh and to only have items that are new to me, so I’m building relationships with the items around me to create a sense of stability and grounding. These are the objects that stand out to me:

My Rachel Saunders Ceramics vase filled with dried lavender from the garden, a beautiful Picasso book I got for $2 in Sedona at the most amazing used bookstore, the old chair next to my bed that holds my candles, a drawing of Joni (my dog) and myself that Amber Lu made for me - it makes me smile every time I look at it, and most recently, the Petite Jess Barrette by Winden.

 Best kept secret in New Mexico?

My friend's family farm. I went there my first night here, and I couldn't have dreamt up a better night—it was an epic introduction to New Mexico. I drove down a private dirt road surrounded by stunning mountains to get there. When I arrived, I was greeted by a beautiful meal cooked over an open fire and an interesting mix of strangers. We were brought together by the food and the scenery for a night full of laughter and connection. We concluded the evening in a wooden hot tub under the starry sky, as we watched the moon rise over the mountains. I hope to have many more nights like this in the spring/summer here.

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Describe your perfect winter day in New Mexico.

Breakfast/tea outside (or if it's too cold, in the dining room looking out the windows to the beautiful landscape) with my journal. Perhaps heading to a local cafe in town to get my people watching fix or going to Ten Thousand Waves for some luxurious (yet affordable) relaxation. Cooking a nourishing dinner while blasting music. Eating in front of the fireplace.