Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Seek, Find, Release

Sometimes I consider myself lucky. It doesn't happen often because I am the melancholic type. I find sadness wherever I look and I like to bathe in that strong condition of consciousness. The negative seems to be more apparent to me, because it forces me to slow down. In contrast, the positive seems to pass me by. (Although I know it is just a matter of practice to be able to celebrate either end of the spectrum of feeling, I have always seemed to be able to be more reflective when I am not happy. And my plan to write – even when I am happy – is being implemented by me on a step-by-step basis.) 

So today, I felt like Christmas. Yes, I received material gifts, but they represented the genuine thought someone had for me. It lit up my heart. I decided to hold on to the warmth and continue to ride on it. It encouraged me to dig inside for something that had seemed to take my air for some time.

I recognized an emotion that I had tried to suppress, and by raising my awareness, I was able to release it. (And that was triggered by a meditation-like-experience caused by a good advice of a decent person.) There it was pouring out of me in pain. Holding on seemed easier, because I did not want to be pushed down or grant myself to have it, not realizing that that created more pressure and weight that had indeed dragged me down for a significant amount of time. Sending it out made me realize one thing: This was the first step to acceptance. And acceptance is what one needs to find peace. And peace is what we all long for. It is what I desire

And another day passes, and it seems like I will not have to battle inside for having sadness, but accept it, release, and let go

Friday, November 30, 2012

Unleash'd Magazine

Unleash'd Magazine Timeless Issue

Special Editon: Buy here!

Features by me:
Mitchell Ware – Creative Director at NY bases Creative Agency Project Fathom and creative behind Airwalk's Already Famous campaign.
- New York photographer Awol Erizku.

Monday, October 8, 2012

C'est moi

Seek within and you will find. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Unleash'd Magazine

Anniversary Issue

Unleash'd Magazine has turned one year old! Unleash'd founder Solmaz Saberi – the girl who knows no boundaries – has successfully transported her vision into a great product via hard work, passion, and vision. I am proud and happy I was there from the beginning and am looking forward to seeing what else is in store for us.

In this issue we proudly present singer Miguel on the cover. Also read an extensive Q&A in which Miguel reveals his upbringing, the beginning of his career, and tells us about his outlook on life. I can only say that this interview really confirmed what kind of guy Miguel is – one of integrity, depth, and overflowing talent for music. Trust me, after reading this, you will feel like you have gotten to know him a little better.

Also, meet Dale Martin, an L.A. based photographer and aspiring fashion designer.

As usual, find amazing photo editorials, book reviews, fresh beats, and beauty tips inside! You can buy the Anniversary Issue here.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I tried to save it.

I think I failed.









Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Unleash'd Magazine Issue 05

Our newest edition of Unleash'd Magazine, issue no 5 – The Eternal Summer Issue – has arrived. Purchase the digital version for $ 1.99 only. 

This issue is the most visual issue done. It features several editorials – so photography lovers – this one is for you! Most naturally, we also included our regular sections: Travel, Hot Beats and Culture. To sum it up, in this issue you can travel to Thailand, meet a talented designer based in California, find summer breakfast recipes, a futuristic gadget,  and read our feature with Julissa Bermudez – the successful TV host you might recognize from "106 & Park," or "Jersey Shore: After Hours." Here is a preview of Julissa:

You can view the complete issue here. Have summery fun! 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Targeting You!

The Power of Emails

I went to a clothing store the other day and got a great deal. I bought a pair of pants and a shirt for only 13.99 dollars each. I found these items in the sale section, and lucky me, that day they reduced those items an extra 30 percent as part of an additional sale. I went home, felt great about my purchase and went on about my day.

The next day, I came across an article in the New York Times titled "How Companies Learn yourSecrets," by Charles Duhigg. Initially, I was not interested in reading it, because I know companies collect data about your shopping habits and target you for them, for that reason I have become what I consider a mindful shopper. As such, I try not to volunteer information about myself to companies, and if I do, I try to ensure that I truly benefit from it. Here is what mindful shopping means for me, I almost never pass on my email address, since I abhor receiving ads and offers on a daily basis. In addition, I treat my email the same way I treat my phone number – I do not give it to companies as a customer. However, when I went to that clothing store and purchased my deal, I was asked the following, "Would you like your receipt emailed to you, or printed?" As the cashier explained, "If you need to make a return, all you have to do is tell us your email address and we can look you up." "OK great,” I replied, giving in to the mindful shopping principles I had set for myself, thinking I would not have to look for any receipts at home anymore, and I make a contribution to the environment – less paper and more trees, as well as more convenience for me. 

Whatever made me read the article after all, I am not sure, but I found myself actually finishing all of the 21 well-researched pages. The article was focusing on market research and explained via specific examples how companies use your data efficiently. And those data, I had learnt, come more than just having your email address or phone number. Marketing strategies are far advanced and determined by habits that no non-market expert could even dream to think of. Anyway, I am not here to rephrase the article for you, but after reading how companies use any information they get from me to send me coupons, emails, and other rewards really struck me. I realized how much the marketing strategy of that particular store I had visited the day prior had actually worked on me.

What initially drew me into the store, when I woke up in the morning, was an email by that store in my inbox, stating that their 30 percent off sale was going to be over after that day. Their last chance reminder made me consider visiting the store. But initially laying out in my head what I really did and did not need, I decided I was not going to go to the store. But that is not where the story ended.

Later that night, I was supposed to meet a friend for dinner. In order to kill time, when I got to the area of the restaurant, I remembered that it was dangerously close to that particular store’s location. Knowing of the sale, I decided to give it a go. After all, I had thrown my first decision over board, reconsidered it, and even ended up buying things! By giving in this one time, which surely was not the first time, I had volunteered all kinds of information about myself 1. They know that I opened their email about the ending sale, meaning I will find more of those in my inbox. 2. It lured me into the store the same day in courtesy of their last minute reminder. 3. With me agreeing to getting my receipt emailed instead of printed, they now have an electronic copy of exactly what I bought that day.

All that is valuable information these kinds of stores definitely can and will use in the future. At the time of my purchase, I had asked the cashier if this volunteering of giving her my email address was for the mere purpose of sending the receipt was, she replied, "Of course." Now, I know so much better…

A version of this post appeared in Unleash'd Magazine: Eternal Summer Issue (05/2012).

The New York Times:
Charles Duhigg is a staff writer for The Times and author of "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business," which will be published on Feb. 28. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Street Smarts

I Chose to Trust My Intuition, Would You?

The other day, I decided to visit the Bronx Zoo with a good friend of mine. It would become my first visit ever, and I was looking forward to spending this gorgeous early spring day outdoors.

I took the train from Brooklyn and prepared myself for the hour long ride with a great book. I ended up arriving at my stop a while before my friend got there. Luckily, there was a small plaza with benches and I decided to sit down on an empty bench to dedicate myself to the page turner I had brought with me, again.

Then, something awkward happened.

The benches – there were about six of them – were not all occupied. There must have been about three benches that no one was sitting on. But this teenage girl decided to sit right next to me.

Why had she chosen to sit next to me instead of one of the completely unoccupied benches?

Nevermind I thought, and read on in my book. Then, the second awkward thing happened. The young looking girl lit a cigarette, or something that looked like a small cigar. It seemed strange, because she looked like she was only 16 (maybe a little older). She finished her smoke, and then quickly jumped up, making the bench jerk since it was loose, giving me the sensation as if I was about to fall off for a second.

She rushed off, and I felt relived that she was gone, had her sitting right beside me given me a strange sense of 'something is off.'

I did not see where the girl was headed exactly, so the more it surprised me when she ended up exactly where she sat before – next to me for a second time. But this time, she scoots closer.

"Excuse me, I think I got off at the wrong stop, so I need to call my brother to make sure I'm at the right stop. Can I use your phone?"

I realized that she must have observed me being on my phone to post a picture on Instagram, before I had started reading my book. Her scooting closer to me, made my inner alarm ring. I looked at her and tried to believe her for a second, but I could not. I was checking her out, and she looked like a sweet, innocent girl who I guess likes to smoke small cigars. But something kept telling me she is not what she appears to be. I replied:

"No, you can't have my phone."

She thought for a second.

"Oh... well, I am not gonna take your phone, you can have my sweater and hold on to it, I am not going anywhere."

I almost considered holding on to her sweater, but again, that would have been a bad trade off, and I already started picturing her running off with my phone. I somehow knew I could not trust her.

"I will not give you my phone, ask someone else!"

She shook her head and turned away.

I thought about the situation some more. What if she was telling the truth? I felt bad for not helping her out. What if she really was lost? So I picked up my purse (which was situated between us too – and I kinda did not want her to be able to grab it), and pretended I was looking for something inside of it, when I had an idea. I decided to make the following offer.

"I can give you 50 cents, and you can go and call your brother."

By the way, she had not made any attempts to ask anyone else for their phone.

"No, but I don't have his number."

I got slightly angry at her for thinking I was buying her lies.

"So how were you gonna call your brother if you do not have his number?"

She had the audacity to say this:

"I need to go on Facebook and write on his wall."

This time I shook my head.

She remained on the bench, right next to me. A little too close, and I was hoping for my friend to arrive soon, to finally have a reason to get up.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Unleash'd Magazine

The Eclectic Issue

Isn't our newest issue HOT? I mean look at this cover! Then you open, and you see more great stuff... and you get to your first feature with Jules Arthur and Celia Helfrich (NYC based artists). You go further, and you find musician Gilbere Forté! And then you read about Jamaica. And on top of that, another feature of DJ O.N.E., and the journey is not over... More eye candy up until the last page!

We, the Unleash'd Magazine team, could not be more proud of what we have accomplished thus far (always wanted to use thus far, althoug I dislike people who use it frequently...). With every issue I feel like we are getting better and better and that's what it's all about! We are currently re-structuring and adding to the magazine. Unleash'd is getting bigger!

Oh... and growing also means more responsibility sometimes – if you do a good job. Apparently I did, and now I am the "Executive Editor!" Congratulations to me! In that sense, please write me if you are interested in becoming an addition to our team. We need NY based photographers and writers (working remotely is O.K.)! Only serious inquiries are considered, and do not forget to send samples of your work! Send to Janina AT Unleash-d DOT COM! We are a startup, so there is no pay, but there is a lot of learning and doing, and you will be credited in the magazine.

Preview and purchase out Feb/March 2012 issue HERE!


Monday, January 30, 2012

What is Love, Polygamy WTH?


The other night I went to bed, but I was not quiet tired enough to call it a night. So I started browsing “Netflix” for some options. I wanted to watch a TV show, because a feature length film would have been too long and it was already late. Long story short, I discovered a TV show called “Sister Wifes.” When I read the description I found out it was a TV show about a family that lives the polygamy lifestyle. I had never been interested in that topic, but I do have an inquisitive personality and always enjoy learning new things.

The family that was featured consisted of three wifes who shared one husband (but not their sex lives) and had 13 children. What I realized after watching was, that opposite of what I might have assumed before, they do not seem weird at all (aside from sharing their husband), but like a big, happy family. Their children were taken good care of, they seemed intelligent and well spoken, and although their family structure seems off or strange at first, I believe that if someone is happy outside of conventional patterns that are determined by society, and is able to create a loving and nurturing family environment, I am OK with it. A friend of mine had posted something on Facebook the other day, her status said: “The abuse rate of lesbian households is zero – I find that incredibly beautiful.”

In the New York Times, readers replied to an article called “One Big Happy Polygamous Family.” Here is what a reader named Carol Kraines said:

“Polygamy amounts to female child abuse. Girls are “given” to men at a young age, generally with minimal education. The husbands don’t believe in family planning, of course, so the girls become pregnant early and often. The husband makes the decisions about the number of wives in the household, and about every other aspect of their lives.”

I am not pro-polygamy, but what I saw on that TV show was the opposite. I must say I was surprised. I am not sure if all polygamist households are that loving, maybe they are not. One thing this family was emphasizing, was their goal to raise happy children. They also stated they would support them when they grow up, even if they did not want to follow their parents foot steps into living the same kind of lifestyle.

There is no question that any kind of abuse in any kind of family should be prosecuted, but why determining how people should live, if there is nothing wrong with it except for not being considered the norm?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Unleash'd Magazine

Last Issue for 2011 – The Holiday Issue!


This issue is the first cover to feature a male model! I love it, not for obvious reasons, but for the fact that it makes Unleash'd Magazine unique, I love being a part of it.

Find the following two articles by me in this issue: "Beats and Produce: Ingredients for Success" with Printz Board of the Black Eyed Peas and "Don't Be Bitter, Be Better" with DJ SynCity.

Preview here:

DJ SynCity


Printz Board