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Vasty Ram

2019! Goals for the New Year

By | Fashion | No Comments

Again, we’re here closing another book in our lives, 2018. It was a weird year! I’ve been describing things as “weird” for more than 10 years. I’m about to be 30 this year and I don’t see that changing. But, really, it was weird! I had many different jobs, lived in 5 different places, fostered more than 10 animals, got more politically involved than I ever wanted to be (it gives me heartburn), traveled, experienced a Sisyphus of emotion with my family, hated and appreciated my trade, started working on my passions more consistently, become more confident but still ambivalent, loved like it was my last day on Earth, discovered many many new beers and things I love, got into cooking (wut!), started taking self-portraits again, came up with an art series I’m actually proud of, actually worked on my design skills (shocking!) and started my journey to be happy with my decisions.

I spent a long time thinking about what I wanted for myself this year. It waterfalled out of me like magic. It covers my desire to build on my strengths and need to obliterate my weaknesses. I get held back because of the crippling guilt I have for being myself, doubt, insecurity, procrastination, overloading, etc. But I am also inspired by nearly anything in this world! I need to harvest that.

  1. Complete my series “XYZ”
  2. Have a gallery show for “XYZ”
  3. Continue to work on my studio skills by taking portraits in my studio. Insert more meaning into my portraits by experimenting with foraged props, fabric, paint, and other recycled materials
  4. Open a print shop for my photographs
  5. Sell my paintings and take on more commissions
  6. Run analytics on my website to strategize better ways to grow
  7. Decorate my own home. Get a home first jaja
  8. Get a pet… a dog I guess, since someone is allergic to cats =P
  9. Let myself be happy more often than not. Focus on the positive, don’t let yourself feel bad about your failures, and be OK with the way people view you. Live for yourself; don’t be defined by someone else’s standards
  10. Start my 100 Things a Man Should Know project
  11. Work on making still lives for symbols that are close to my heart
  12. Come up with a new hobby, such as calligraphy (maybe, I have a lot to do)
  13. Write more. Re-read at the end of the month to analyze your strengths and weaknesses
  14. Create a product photography portfolio by practicing with brands you own
  15. Practice “Miracle Mornings”
  16. Spend less time wondering and feeling insecure and just create
  17. Create everyday
  18. Get my PMP certification
  19. Be present in all that I do. Enjoy every moment, don’t let the bad things define me
  20. Start shooting film. Buy a camera to start on eBay and learn how to develop at home
  21. Find brands to work with
  22. Shoot more still life with food and flowers
  23. Define my style as a painter and photographer. Set realistic goals every month
  24. Stop wasting. Try new methods of staying green
  25. Drink less alcohol, drink more water
  26. Be more comfortable with who you are
  27. Stay healthy and be more active
  28. Find a community of artists to stay inspired
  29. Save for a house
  30. Finish learning Portuguese
  31. Use the 1 Second a Day app
  32. Learn how to use Adobe Premiere Pro and make mini music videos
  33. Read more about photography and art history and keep up with the current trends as well as current prominent artists to be able to teach others. Find new techniques and share them through social media
  34. Buy cooking equipment to experiment more with cooking. Be adventurous in the kitchen all year long! Keep up with menu for the week to reduce wasting food
  35. Make more collages
  36. Forage and explore nature more with hikes and my new rollerblades
  37. Start a new project with Rigo
  38. Take a moment everyday to realize how lucky you are
  39. Take a class
  40. Come up with a better organization system for my photos so that I stop running out of space on my phone =P
  41. Create an art studio where I can paint and take pictures in a new home with Z
  42. Re-decorate my mom’s room and mother in law’s guest room
  43. Wake up earlier!
  44. Go to Big Sur
  45. Road trip to Arizona
  46. Take a hot air balloon ride w/ Z
  47. Celebrate 7 years together in SD
  48. Go on safari
  49. Make soup every week
  50. Build a dark room
  51. Print photos every month
  52. Take the train to new cities
  53. Work on my food photography
  54. Learn about pictorialism
  55. Go to more museums to educate myself
  56. Work hard on growing our business. Make CBD a priority!!
  57. Spend more time with my nieces
  58. Be my NYC niece pen pal and send a thank you painting to my NYC family
  59. Take photos with my instant camera
  60. Illustrate a children’s book with Jessica
  61. Go to New York City to visit my family
  62. Watch my sister graduate college in Dominican Republic
  63. Go on a mom and daughter trip
  64. Help more immigrants
  65. Get involved more with animals

GWEN! @ Zappos Theater

By | Music | No Comments

My most overplayed band since I was 15 is without a doubt, No Doubt. I understand Gwen. I feel like Gwen. All I wanted as a little girl was to fall in love, have babies and live happily ever after. She wanted the same things, and she wrote about the pursuit of those things and the failure to get them. The girl writes from the heart, without shame or reservations regardless of what people may say. Just a girl with an attitude and a lot of heart.

It is weird to see all these songs performed without the boys. It would have been more ideal to have Tom, Tony, and Adrian on that stage. But, it is what is. Stephen Bradley was there; he’s been playing with ND since the beginning.

The show was elaborate. It wasn’t a Gwen or No Doubt show, it was a VEGAS show. Amazing wardrobe, super talented dancers, crazy choreography, emotional singing, and palpable energy. The girl knows how to work a crowd. ND has always put on a very energetic show (as I’ve seen on YouTube videos – should’ve gone to see them last time they toured… fool!). I loved getting 1/4 of that experience with Gwen. She has the cutest dance moves and she is not a slave to a choreography; it’s whatever she feels like which is a cool contrast with the colorful production. Of course, the best outfit was the one with the butt flap – signature Gwen, which I totally copy all the time.

I would recommend you go watch this show. I got super lucky to get bumped to the pit. Either from afar or close, this show is memorable for any Gwen/ND fans and, honestly, just in general. It’s a super fun, personal show about this woman’s journey. It’s a simple kind of beautiful, just like the girl.

Videos and more on my story on Instagram

Thanksgiving 2018!

By | People | No Comments

The Decorations

The Drinks

The Food

My family is from El Salvador, so Thanksgiving is not really a crucial holiday for us. So, I usually try to spend that day with my partner’s family cause he is more American in that way (he’s from Canada and they do have Thanksgiving there too but in October). But, now that we’re older there really is no need for that division. We’ve been trying to merge our families more and more as we grow older, and we try to be the hosts for these events to make it pain free for everyone else.

My Canadian mom is always in charge of Thanksgiving dinner and no way anyone else can do it, so she is responsible for all the delicious food we had. The most popular recipe is Flemming’s potatoes. EVERYONE wanted that recipe. She makes chicken cause no one really prefers turkey in this family. I was in charge of the side, an altered green bean casserole from Basics with Babish,  I made poinsettia spritz punch from Half Baked Harvest, and bloody Marias from What’s Gaby Cooking. My partner did the most ambitious cheeseboard I’ve ever seen in this house! It was incredible. He got all the meats and cheeses from Whole Foods, and if you like pickles you gotta eat Bubbies (too good!). Finally for dessert I made this strawberry balsamic creme fraîche from Adventures in Cooking (my favorite food blog right now!).

I researched my decorations on Pinterest and created my own mood board for it! I ended up just foraging around our neighborhood for the placeholders which were fall leaves as well as for the lavender and other green accents around the flowers. We got orange tulips (my favorite flower) to match with the red/yellowish color scheme. My partner carved the apples that held the candles. Last touch was adding a bit of a neutral color, brown, with aromatic pine cones and some pine cones that I have collected from Big Bear. I really loved the tall candles as a last elegant touch.

We had the cheesecake and homemade eggnog to cap off the night. It was lovely. We all went around the table saying what we were most thankful for. I’m definitely the most thankful that my partner’s family and mine can come together and celebrate life together. Special thanks to my mom for helping me write the placeholders since I was really busy with so much other crap. It’s not easy hosting people! BUT the best =)

Best wishes to your family from mine! Love the holidays <3

MØ @ El Rey Theater

By | Music | No Comments

My favorite musician right now is definitely . I saw her live this year for my birthday at The Glass House in Pomona and then again at El Rey for her pre-Forever Neverland tour. The album came out in October after a long wait, which was fine cause in the interim she released an EP called When I Was Young – now one of my favorite records ever. It was really an EP that introduces the same emotions tackled in this LP.

The thing about MØ (AKA Karen Marie) that’s so attractive is that she feels super genuine. From the way she performs on stage – devoid of rules or doubt – to how she can transport me to being 15 again with a dancey beat. I told my partner that she has the emotional and theatrical essence that Freddy Mercury had. Freddy was inspired by Liza Minnelli’s histrionics and I feel that Karen of MØ has that passion on stage that’s so captivating. You gotta watch the girl dance and break her own heart on stage.

We’re one year apart in age so her subject matter is very moving to me cause I am feeling all those same pains of growing up, feeling nostalgic about the past, looking back at irreparable mistakes, reminiscing on first and lost loves, fighting for your dreams, staying true to yourself, finding your voice, and learning how to be OK with all of it.

I notice a pattern in musicians that hit big with their first album: their second album is always about the struggles of being famous. Meaning since most of their fans are not famous, we can’t relate to them anymore on the level we related to their music the first time around. They lose it cause they get lost in the fame. Karen does have lyrics on that subject in her sophomore record (“West Hollywood”, “Purple Like the Summer Rain”) but it’s still so gorgeously written with melancholy that really plagues all of us regardless if those qualms come from being famous or not. Her message still stays universal as she rejoices that she made her dreams come true. Now that’s a feeling we can all strive to want to experience one day.

My favorite song on the album reflects this ability to stay real, true to yourself and to the message that your fans fell in love with. “Blur” is the main reason I posted this today because she just released a music video for it this morning! LOVE her music videos, this one is my favorite. Not watching this one ’till I post this but this acoustic performance of it is my obsession.

She’s currently touring in Europe, but you can catch her next performance at the timeless LA venue, The Wiltern ($30 for floor!).

This is what I wanted all my life, no one can take it, no
Pour me all the wine and let me picture that I made it, oh
This is what a universal fairytale is made of
Sugar in my veins
Sugar in my veins
This is what I wanted, don't stop
Playing with the old stars above
This is what a universal fairytale is made of
Sugar in my veins
Purple like the summer rain

A Day in LA! Inland Version

By | Quests | No Comments
Coming to LA for a short amount of time but you want to hit up the most iconic spots in one day? Easy! These are 6 spots in LA that you can do within 8 hours. I wanted to make sure our cousin from Canada got to see all the best spots usually featured in film and GTA. Starting off with a quick hike and ending it with a lot of food.

People! Los at LA River w/ Rigo

By | People | No Comments

It’s the utmost pleasure to meet people that share your passion for photography! Surrounding yourself with people who want to create, explore as much as you want or even more is so amazing and fueling.

I found Rigo through Instragram after searching for the Watts Tower hashtag. Of course, the uniqueness of film totally attracted me to his style. I call him a visual anthropologist. He captures the people from this eclectic city in beautiful, harsh sunny light that I’ve come to embrace! I’m used to shooting during sunset when the sun is not so shiny, but he has turned me to the other side.

Excited to learn film photography with him. I’ve always been pretty scared of film. It’s uncertain! There’s no instant gratification, no sure way of knowing how that film turns out. I like that now. It’s a great exercise in letting go of control, cause we don’t really have any control so it mostly gets rid of that ridiculous illusion. JA!

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