Leah Chyma All Over | Inspire. Change. Repeat.

There are people that you come across that are always full of positive energy, but at the same time have a calming effect on the people around them.  Those would be the first words I’d use to describe Miss Leah Chyma of Leah Chyma All Over.  Not to mention creative, fun, and inspiring.

I met Leah last summer and have been lucky enough to have shared a number of experiences with her – everything from her Camp Gladiator bootcamps, to co-working, snuggle puddles, concerts, lady chats… and of course brunch.  I first learned about Leah’s passion for art last fall.  Since then I’ve been inspired by her determination to shake away from the comfort of a steady paycheck in order to pursue her true love – Leah Chyma All Over.  I had heard our mutual friends bragging about their LCAO piece; once I saw her work with my own eyes though I was immediately drawn in.  The first painting of Leah’s that I laid eyes on was Sunbeam Prison – the layering of the paint on the canvas paired with masking tape and acrylic make the image pop in a 3D affect that made my eyes completely curious about every layer.   That canvas had it goin on.   Of course when I learned what this piece represented – “The overcoming of something awful… you can overcome a dark past and start a new positive path” – I was immediately hooked.

I wanted to hear more about where it all started.  Leah and I decided on Blue Dahlia Bistro for a lady date so that I could pick her brain.  (Enter delish wine.)  I listened as she described her first pieces of “artwork” – the everyday doodles of a young student distracted in class.  While Leah was simply trying to make the minutes pass faster like any normal kid, she was innocently creating her first pieces of artwork – pieces that would catch the eye of a teacher that saw her scribbles as much more than that.  Leah’s teacher recognized her potential and encouraged her to explore her imagination on paper even more.  That inspiration, along with years in other creative spaces – ceramics, the art of learning how to read music, and especially the inheritance of her parents’ vinyl collection – is what lead Leah’s path to the University of Iowa and later, a degree in Art and Creative Writing.  And eventually, lucky for us, to Austin, Texas.

With Leah’s focus centered on her artwork more than ever this past year she’s really made strides in Austin’s art community.  She’s featured in coffee shops and waiting rooms in and around the city and has had her art shown in some pretty fabulous happenings around town recently including Art Show at the Speed Shop, which took place last month at Pure Austin Fitness, and also in the well-known East Austin Studio Tour (aka EAST), where Leah’s art was hung alongside fellow artist Katy Hirschfeld of Collage Garage.  Not only that.  Leah is part of an awesome-ness initiative here in Austin – #besomebody.  If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen them around yet, #besomebody – The World’s Platform for Passion – helps people turn what they love to do into what they’re paid to do.  They live off of the belief that your personal passion is by far your most valuable asset.  How does it work?  Well you download the iPhone app obviously (if you haven’t already done this you’re late to the party), select what you’re passionate about (for me – running, writing, fashion, entrepreneurship, dogs… I could have probably kept going…), and you’re off!  The app automatically connects you to remarkable people in your area for one-on-one experiences with them, the experts.  I especially like that I can learn how to create my own acrylic layered canvas and I don’t have to bring anything but myself for a super affordable price, all while supporting Leah, who’s just doing what she loves.  Pretty cool, right?  I think so.

Leah’s art will be shown TONIGHT at the December ArTXplosion by  Mindzai Creative ATX.  From what I hear they’ll have complimentary drinks and screen printing, and of course local artists – my favorite combination.  If you can’t make it tonight be sure to “Like” LCAO’s Facebook page in order to stay in-the-know of her upcoming shows.  Leah’s available for commissions as well – if you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for on her site fill out her Q&A form and she’ll make amazingness happen.  Trust me…  I’ve seen it. 

Waking Fable | Rock, Soul, and a Saxophone

While I sit down at Royal Blue and listen to the lyrics and sounds of every-single-one of Waking Fable’s songs off their EP Leave the Moon On, I realize how lucky I am to have interviewed them and to have gotten to know them a bit.  I feel like I should be sitting in a dark underground bar, dirty martini in hand, yellin “yeahhhhhh get ittt!!” because the words they sing just hit you that much…

Isn’t that the point though?

“You’ve seen me naked with my clothes on.  You’ve seen me cry without a tear.

A bare chested lion.  Used to be sincere.

You used to be sincere.

I polished off the bottle, there’s nothing for the flies.

Love drunk addition, to all of your lies.

And I’ll wonder, whats my number in your cabinet full of hearts..

Is it lonely, one and only… or am I just the start…”

I don’t know if it’s recent happenings in my own life that’s making me fall in love with their lyrics, or if it’s just the fact that I’m so excited for what’s to come for them in the future that I feel like a 10th grade cheerleader all over again wanting to jump up and down for them. Clearly I will not be doing that in Royal Blue tonight, but more than likely it’ll happen at more than one of their upcoming gigs.

Now when I say “them”, I’m referring to Matt MacDonald (Vocals, Rhythm Guitar), Dan Cohen (Vocals, Saxophone), Vinnie Fallico (Lead Guitar), Moses Elias (Bass), and Jeff Edwards (Drums).  From what I learned during our conversation at the backyard tree stump at The Blackheart though, is that they “all kind of sing.”  And DO they!  They harmonize the sh!t out of those songs and, while I’m no pro in the vocals department myself, I can 100% appreciate an appealing harmony that makes you wish you had their talent.

I learned a lot about Matt, Dan, and Vinnie in the 2ish hours that we spent together.  Reason #1 that I connected with them immediately was that the two original members, Matt and Dan, are from NY – Long Island and Poughkeepsie, respectively.  I feel that any time I meet someone from NY we have an instant bond – a bond that only people living in Texas that are from NY could understand.

“Oh you’re from New York?  So you’re from Manhattan?!”

“Ummm… no sir.  New York is a REALLY big state.”

…well not when compared to Texas but, you get my point.

The band started with Matt and Dan meeting in a field up at SUNY Binghamton.  Sorry – a “sexy field of butterflies” according to them. (…and why wouldn’t it be?)   The fact that they know all about where I’m from, and that they met while listening to Drive by Incubus, also increased my obsession for them simply because that song warms my heart with memories of my freshman year at SUNY Brockport.

So the story goes… after graduating Binghamton Matt had a 3 month stint in L.A., performing on the streets of Santa Monica all while staying on a buddy’s couch.  After quickly being turned off by the vibe, not to mention the expenses, he and Dan both realized that it was time to give Austin, TX a try.  They had no idea that Austin was the Live Music Capital of the World.  Instead, a simple tip from Dan’s brother made it all happen.  And like most of us that have found ourselves here, it all started with something like, “Alright, well lets go to Austin!”

From day one these guys started hustling and it has absolutely paid off.  What began as open mic performances 4-5 nights out of the week has morphed into hosting their own open mic every week at the popular House Wine of East Austin.  And from what I hear, that place is packed on Mondays!  Super cool.  I’ll obviously be going now.

Enter Vinnie.  Originally from Colorado he had tried the Portland thing; thought about the NYC and L.A. thing; considered the Nashville thing.  Thankfully he ended up in the ATX shortly after Matt and Dan and, like many of us, only knew one person here.  Luckily it was his brother Geno and, lucky for all of us, Geno is the one who invited me to meet these guys.  These guys – Waking Fable – have such respect for one another.  Such camaraderie.  Each one of them respects the others talent and, as it was explained to me, they just knew it was the right fit.  Once they heard what Vinnie was capable of, what they were all capable of, it was an “immediate good feeling”.

In my opinion, any feeling at all that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside (think hot-tea-and-fuzzy-socks kind of a feeling) is naturally a good thing… and good is always something to “just go with”.

And thankfully Waking Fable did just that.  And the rest is history.

Decked out in suits, bringing that whole profesh look to the stage – not to mention the sax… the full band… the damn good lyrics… the voices… the everything – Waking Fable performs throughout Austin and is available to play at events in the area as well.  Personally, I’ll be checking out their open mic at House Wine as many Mondays as possible.  For all of their performance dates check out the Waking Fable Facebook Page, or the band’s website.

And when you’re there, go say hi!  Introduce yoself!  They’re pretty awesome, even if they didn’t take my clarinet skillz offer.

Smearing your breakfast into your hair is a good thing.

While perusing the online world for some postSXSW hair remedies (…sun + hats + dry shampoo + I-whip-my-hair-back-and-forth!! = helppp…) I came across this fabulous post by Naturally Curly to help kick start my hair’s recovery.  A homemade remedy that’s cheap and seemingly easy to do.  And it involves oatmeal, apparently.

My immediate mental image involved having the boyfriend walk in on me smearing oatmeal all over my head with a wooden spoon while sitting at the counter enjoying my morning coffee and reading Style magazine.  There really wouldn’t be any recovering from that.  But, with Coachella happening this weekend, it’s really necessary to reset and refresh my poor tresses, so it’s worth the embarrassment.  Two music festivals within one month of each other surely cannot be the best situation for any head of hair.   Plus, being that summer is just around the corner, I feel like it’s time to learn some budget-friendly tricks to keep everything healthy.

Having naturally curly hair is always a struggle during the summer months anyways, so anything that I can do to retain moisture is always a plus.  So, it looks like while I’m picking up my last minute travel-sized necessities tomorrow I’ll be stocking up on some oatmeal as well.  And maybe a few cherries to add to the top while it soaks in.  Just to keep things interesting..

I may even have to document this new hair adventure next week… stay tuned ;)

Darling, Just F*in Own It

I could write a book about the amount of motivation I’ve acquired over the past two weeks by attending two completely inspiring bootcamps, each led by very gifted women.  These workshops were geared towards women who are focused on improving themselves in all areas of life, from careers to relationships, and being in touch and aware of the steps that will get us there.  And more importantly, making a plan to get there.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’ve been SO lucky to have met some pretty fantastic ladies in Austin.  We genuinely are each others cheerleaders and jump at the chance to support one another.   One of these women is the fabulous Corina Frankie.  It was her goal to work on her public speaking skills in 2014 and to motivate others.  Being a trainer at Camp Gladiator (more to come on that in a later post..) this girl is already insanely motivating in the fitness world.  But speaking… well, yelling… at 20 people at 6am to go harder, run faster, & squat lower is COMPLETELY different than speaking in front of 20 women.   Corina made a rather large leap (…screw baby steps – we go big) in her public speaking goal by leading a Goal Setting Workshop for young professional women earlier this month.   Needless to say, the girl nailed it.  I think I got temporary carpal tunnel from trying to write down all of her useful information.

20140129-165852.jpgOne of the first lists Corina had us create was that of five things we’ve already accomplished… things that we’re proud of.  This is actually harder than it sounds because if you think about it, we’re taught that it’s not classy to brag.  But the interesting and fun thing is that no one list is the same.  She also had us make a list of 50 things we want to do in the next 10 years – FIFTY?!  Good Lord I should have prepared for this.. enter Corina in Camp Gladiator mode.  I thought she was going to have my head if I didn’t write 50.   The girl knows how to motivate.

Corina referred to Napoleon Hill throughout the session, who was one of the original “personal success” authors.  One of his main messages was that truly, deep down believing in yourself and your vision directly correlates to your actual success in life.  “What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”  This thought, as well as its formula, was his main focal point for his books, including Think and Grow Rich.  I of course have added this to my “To Read” list.

Thanks to another thoughtful friend who went out of her way to write an amazingly touching email about me, I was invited to attend the Bossed Up Bootcamp by Emilie Aries herself – Co-Founder & CEO of the company.  Let me just say that if any woman has the chance to attend this, they absolutely need to. The Bossed Up Mission is “To keep women contributing to the workforce by empowering each of us to craft healthy, happy, sustainable careers – for life!”  And holy shit did they give us some good advice.  I attended with two girlfriends of mine, each of us in very different places, but with a somewhat similar professional background.  Even though each woman in attendance at Bossed Up Bootcamp was in their own unique “place”, each and every one of us could relate to the topics and will be able to use them as we grow in all areas of life.

Our first session had to do with our personal vision, meaning “What you want to create of yourself and the world around you.”  Again, this might sound easy, but our speaker Emily Downward really had a way of making us sit back and think about what that means – What would you do if money wasn’t an issue?… if you knew you couldn’t fail… if you didn’t care what anyone thought…?  Then – boom – Emily tells us to envision that it’s 2024.  We’re asked to walk around the room to tell each other what we’re doing in life, where we’ve been, and what we’ve accomplished.  Emily got our “heads right”, prepping us for what we were about to experience.

20140129-170257.jpgOver the course of the weekend, we had sessions and discussions on everything from Communication in the Workplace, Negotiating, Community Building, to the importance of being Mindful and Conscious, the importance of sleep (I definitely needed to hear that one), and even a lesson on the 5 Love Languages, and how to know where you fall.  The amazing Ashley Lavalle, who’s voice could be compared to fuzzy socks and tea (so soothing & comforting),  had us pick the statements that fit us best when describing how we like to be treated – really by anyone.   I knew right away that I’d fall into the “Quality Time” bucket – that was easy.

With the mix of so many important discussions over the course of two days,  and a real focus on how to make things happen, I’d go ahead and call Bossed Up the Best Etiquette-for-a-Woman’s-Brain Bootcamp. But maybe also I walked away with too much confidence and excitement to think that actually makes sense…

Either way, I’m super thankful that Corina gave me the mental-ass-kicking that I needed Saturday morning in order to get over a crappy week and just “Own it!” – she’s insanely good at that whole “motivation” thing.   Both Corina’s Goal Setting workshop and the Bossed Up Bootcamp gave me the chance to meet other women from all over Texas who are motivated and striving for success.  And because I attended both I now have the ability to connect women from these two different groups and build our networking community even more.  And for me, that’s really fabulous. 20140127-183611.jpg

10 Ways to Look Gorgeous in Glasses

MelHoc:

Being that I’m currently in the market for new glasses, I am completely obsessed with each of these looks, especially number ten!

Originally posted on Beauty High:

If you’re a girl who wears glasses, you know that finding just the right makeup and hair to pair with your specs can be tricky business. Luckily, geek has never been more chic—especially since celebrities like Kristen Stewart, Jennifer Aniston, and Anne Hathaway regularly rock their fashionable frames, and the gorgeous beauty looks to go along with them.

With that in mind, we took to Pinterest to find some of the best ways to make your glasses accentuate your features. So if you’re looking for a brand new way to boost your hair and makeup routine, turn to these bespectacled beauties for a little inspiration!

More Tips From Beauty High:
How to Get Gorgeous Makeup, Even With Glasses!
Beauty Street Style: Side-swept Hair and Floral Sunglasses
How to Match Your Bikini, Sunglasses and Nail Polish For the Beach

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