Bella Vida by Letty




I have a great love of books and cozy spaces. I take great comfort in lounging on the couch near my bookshelves and indulging in some hard earned me time. When I’m not traveling of love perusing images and books for inspiration. Once my imagination gets going my creativity really begins to flow.

These books are truly beautiful to look at.

travel coffee table books

Follow Me To

The Follow Me project was created in 2012 based on the concept of showing the beauty and uniqueness of different locations around the world. It is a story told through the eyes of two ordinary travelers who attempt to portray local lifestyles and narratives by means of photography. 

travel coffee table books

The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World 

From Lonely Planet The world’s leading travel guide publisher.  Take a journey through every country in the world.

travel coffee table books

Drives of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Most Spectacular Trips

Pack your suitcase, load up the car, and head for the open road! In the tradition of National Geographic Traveler magazine’s award-winning annual feature showcasing the world’s best auto trips, National Geographic presents Drives of a Lifetime: Where to Go, Why to Go, When to Go. This lavishly illustrated, hardcover travel planner and gift book gives you every bit of information you’ll need to navigate 400 amazing driving routes in some of the world’s most fascinating locales.

travel coffee table books


Gray Malin is the artist of the moment for the Hollywood and fashion elite. His awe-inspiring aerial photographs of beaches around the world are shot from doorless helicopters, creating playful and stunning celebrations of light, shape, and perspective, as well as summer bliss. Combining the spirit of travel, adventure, luxury, and artistry, Malin built his eponymous lifestyle brand from a deep passion for photography and interior design.

travel coffee table books

Wine Trails: 52 Perfect Weekends in Wine Country 

From Lonely Planet, the world’s leading travel guide publisher, Wine Trails, the first book in Lonely Planet’s “Perfect Weekends” series, introduces the secret gems in well-known regions such as Napa and Sonoma, Tuscany, Burgundy and Rioja, and also explores off-the-beaten-path regions in Georgia, Greece and beyond.

travel coffee table bookstravel coffee table books

Paris in Color 

Take a journey through the world’s most romantic city, traveling from color to magnificent color with this beguiling book. An orange café chair, bright blue bicycles against a fence, a weathered white door—Nichole Robertson’s sumptuous photographs of the distinctive details of Paris, all arranged by color, evoke a sense of serendipitous discovery and celebrate the city as never before. At once a work of art and a window into the heart of the city, Paris in Color will surprise and delight those who love art, design, color, and, of course, Paris!

travel coffee table books

The Seasons of New York

New York is one of the most ever-changing and photogenic places in the world. Featuring full-color photographs of well-known landmarks from all five boroughs—from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to South Street Seaport, as well as secret treasures throughout the city—this visual celebration of New York in all of its seasonal splendor is a perfect take-home souvenir for a tourist or a treasured gift for a resident New Yorker. 

travel coffee table books

See San Francisco: Through the Lens of SFGirlbyBay

From internationally popular design blogger SF Girl By Bay comes the ultimate love letter to San Francisco. This gorgeously photographed lifestyle guide gives readers an insider’s tour of the City by the Bay through Victoria Smith’s unique lens. Organized by neighborhood, each chapter features enchanting photos of hidden corners, local color, landmarks, and hot spots, revealing why so many people, Victoria included, fall head over heels for this amazing city. Brimming with original, dreamy photography and packaged as a gorgeous jacketed hardcover, this lovely book makes a perfect gift for photography fans, San Francisco dwellers, visitors to the city, or those who have left their hearts in San Francisco.

travel coffee table books

The New York Times: 36 Hours

To travel in North America is to face a delicious quandary: over these vast spaces with so many riches, from glittering cities to eccentric small towns and heart-stoppingly beautiful mountains and plains, how to experience as much as possible in limited time? The New York Times has the answer, and has been offering up dream weekends with practical itineraries in its popular weekly “36 Hours” column for over a decade. 

travel coffee table books

Great Escapes Italy 

To travel through Italy is as close as one gets to being in paradise. For centuries, writers, artists, architects and merchants have been drawn here, inspired by the beauty of Venice, Florence, Naples and Rome. Countless books, paintings, poems and sculptures are evidence of its undying appeal, and over the past 60 years, the country has become one of the world’s top travel and holiday destinations. The loveliness of Italy—its architecture, landscapes, culture and food (some of the world’s finest!) — if not eternal, is certainly enduring, and the easy-going and relaxed Italian lifestyle, il dolce far niente, is still unrivaled.

You can purchase any of these wonderful books via the link or by clicking on the image.

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How to Start a Travel Inspiration Journal

How to Create a Travel Inspiration Journal

How to Start a Travel Inspiration Journal

An inspiration journal is central place where you can jot down ideas and other things that will inspire you to achieve your goals. It can help you get started, unstuck, or maybe lead you into a completely different direction but mainly motivates you into action.

You can create an entire journal of strictly inspiration or like me have a combination of places I’ve enjoyed and would love to revisit along with bucket lists of things I’d like to do and places I’d like to see.

When we travel the experience is usually over far too quickly. By journaling we get to explore how we felt about the places we went to and the activities we participated in. We get to know ourselves better by clarifying our thoughts.

Journals also serve as records. We can record our progress or expound on the places we’ve been. Sometimes it’s helpful to look back so we can realize all that we’ve accomplished.


These books will get your creativity started.
An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration From the Private Art Journals of Traveling Artists, Illustrators and Designers

travel journal

When we travel, we don’t want to follow the same itinerary as everyone who’s come before us. We want to feel like explorers, adventurers in undiscovered territory. And that’s exactly what sketching can bring to the travel experience.

The Art of Urban Sketching: Drawing On Location Around The World

travel sketching

The book, Art of Urban Sketching by Gariel Campanario, takes you around the world by showing you the stylings of urban sketchers spanning every continent and into 30 countries. Filled with more than 500 full colored illustrations drawn on location by artists within their own cities, you will hear their stories while learning expert tips and ideas for tools to use for sketching, as well as how to participate through social networking and online activity.

An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers

travel journal

An artist’s journal is packed with sketches and captions; some rough, some polished. The margins sometimes spill over with hurriedly scrawled shopping lists and phone numbers. The cover may be travel-worn and the pages warped from watercolors. Open the book, and raw creativity seeps from each color and line. The intimacy and freedom on its pages are almost like being inside the artist’s mind: You get a direct window into risks, lessons, mistakes, and dreams.

A World of Artist Journal Pages: 1000+ Artworks – 230 Artists – 30 Countries

travel journal

By nature, art journaling is a private activity. But when Dawn Sokol’s first book, 1000 Artist Journal Pages, broke the fourth wall and shared the work of artists all over North America and parts of Europe, it created a ripple of inspiration throughout the art journaling community. In this much-anticipated follow-up, Sokol features more than 1,000 new, captivating pages, this time—by popular demand—from artists across the globe. Lists of techniques and materials used for each page, plus behind-the-scenes interviews, give readers a glimpse inside the minds of new and established artists, making this a stimulating compilation sure to inspire beginners and seasoned art journalers alike.
Books for  traveling writing inspiration.

Writing Away: A Creative Guide to Awakening the Journal-Writing Traveler (Travelers’ Tales)

travel writing

Two major trends have recently swept the travel world: the first, an overwhelming desire (thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller, Eat, Pray, Love) to write one’s own memoir; the second, an explosion of social media, blogs, twitter and texts, which allow travelers to document and share their experiences instantaneously. Thus, the act of chronicling one’s journey has never been more popular, nor the urge stronger.

Writing Away: A Creative Guide to Awakening the Journal-Writing Traveler, will inspire budding memoirists and jetsetting scribes alike. But Writing Away doesn’t stop there—author Lavinia Spalding spins the romantic tradition of keeping a travelogue into a modern, witty adventure in awareness, introducing the traditional handwritten journal as a profoundly valuable tool for self-discovery, artistic expression, and spiritual growth.

Writing Away teaches you to embrace mishaps in order to enrich your travel experience, recognize in advance what you want to remember, tap into all your senses, and connect with the physical world in an increasingly technological age. It helps you overcome writer’s block and procrastination; tackle the discipline, routine, structure, and momentum that are crucial to the creative process; and it demonstrates how traveling—while keeping a journal along the way—is the world’s most valuable writing exercise.

Globejotting: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Journals (and still have time to enjoy your trip!)

travel writing

Most travel diaries fizzle. By day six of a big trip, people are struggling to recall what happened on days three, four, and five. They return home with mostly empty journals, or bland writing that fails to capture the full spirit of their journeys. Award-winning travel humorist Dave Fox comes to the rescue in this book that’s both informative and irreverently funny. You’ll learn to: Bring destinations to life with bold details.Splash those details quickly onto your pages so journaling doesn’t gobble up your precious vacation time.Elude your Inner Censor and write with confidence.Weave together your outer and inner journeys, using unfamiliar places as a backdrop for self-discovery.

Dave shares his favorite journaling techniques, shows how to find time to write in the middle of an exciting trip, and infuses it all with a generous dose of his off-the-wall humor. Whether your journeys are weekend road trips or excursions around the world, this book will help transform you into a travel journaling superhero!


Once you’ve found some inspiration to get you started choose the type of sketchbook, binder or journal you would like to use.

journals binders

Carolina Pad Studio C Zip-it Notebook with Zipper Pouch Cover 

Pocket Leather Journal with Owl Handmade Blank Craft Paper Brown  with Gift Box 

or binder

Kate’s Paperie Binder with Set of 3 Journals, The Art of Travel 

Genuine Leather Journal Notebook Refillable with Cool Lock 6-ring Loose Leaf Binder

UniKeep Travel Binder – Ocean

I’m inspired by colors, textures, mixed media, positive quotes, photos, places, travel, sewing, fashion,jewelry, music, art, painting, movies, stories . . .

travel journal entry ideas

Ideas to get you going.

Top ten list
Bucket list
Favorite travel quotes
Favorite places
Start with a map
Start with a ticket stub
Start with a postcard
Cut out magazine photos
Start with a photo you took
Favorite thing you ate
Describe the smells
Describe the texture
Describe the taste
Most exciting
Least exciting
I’ll never do that again


Do you have a travel inspiration journal?


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Photo of the Week: The Gorgeous Wood Sculptures of Paul Baliker

wood sculpture

Life is an adventure and you never really know what’s coming around the next corner.  This is what I saw as we drove down Old A1A.  An interesting wooden sculpture of an old man with a long beard carved from wood.  It was a sight so spectacular we had to turned around and get a better look.  I thought it was amazing and wondered who would take the time to create something so wonderful and so detailed.

It turned out to be an art gallery, however, since it was a holiday the place was closed.  We were able to see some cool sculptures in the front yard of the building.  I learned online that Paul Baliker has sculpting wood and bronze for over 35 years out of his studio in Hammock, Palm Coast Florida.  His passion for nature has inspired pieces which bring attention to the environment.

The wood sculptures are large and made of natural materials.  You must walk around each piece to discover some new detail and look again for more things you might not have seen the first time.  The pieces are not only beautiful but thought provoking.  A reminder that we are caretakers of this planet and it is our shared responsibility to keep it safe and clean for future generations.

sculpture 3


sculpture 4


“You are the masterpiece of your own life. You are the Michelangelo of your own life. The David you are sculpturing is you.”  Rhonda Byrne

 “What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul.” Joseph Addison

“Art-making is not about telling the truth but making the truth felt.”  Christian Boltanski

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Photo Essay Wynwood Walls Graffiti Murals

wynwood walls

I had family visit me recently and it since it was there first time in South Florida I had to take them to see Wynwood’s famous walls.  You know it’s one of my absolute favorite places to be.  And guess what?  They were blown away.  It is a very special feeling when you step out of your car and are completely surrounded by huge colorful beautiful images. The atmosphere is fun and casual.

wynwood walls

wynwood walls

Most of the time you can catch the artists at work.

wynwood walls wynwood walls

This one is my favorite.  It’s beautiful, colorful, creepy and mysterious.

wynwood walls wynwood walls wynwood walls

Wynwood Walls is famous for it’s graffiti murals.

Have you been to Wynwood, Florida?  Which is your favorite mural?

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Colorful Photo of the Week: Matlacha Florida

Matlacha Florida

Because I have so many incredible photos that I haven’t posted on the site I thought I might create a weekly feature where I share an interesting photo I haven’t published before.  There are tons of works you haven’t seen.  Today’s photograph is from a 2010 road trip across Florida when we stopped in the tiny colorful town of Matlacha.  All the shops in its downtown are painted with happy, beautiful, bright, eye catching colors.  We pulled over to stretch our legs and I found this guy sitting out in front of a small town shop.  I think it’s creepy that he’s fake but still has a shadow.  But you know me and my overactive imagination.

Today’s word is colorful.



“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” Rabindranath Tagore

“I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.”  Sylvia Plath 

“I hunger for your sleek laugh and your hands the color of a furious harvest. I want to eat the sunbeams flaring in your beauty.” Pablo Neruda

“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”   William Gibson

“The first stab of love is like a sunset, a blaze of color — oranges, pearly pinks, vibrant purples…”  Anna Godbersen 


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I’m Uploading My Story to Wattpad

31 Day of Rougarou Cover

Wattpad is a social network where readers and writers can interact. Writers can post stories, chapters, working versions, entire novels or excerpts and share them with readers for free. As of December 2013 Wattpad has over 18 million users who can access stories posted via their phones and mobile devices. Of the many genres on Wattpad the most popular are Young Adult, Romance, Science Fiction and Fantasy.

I signed up awhile ago but never took the time to explore and interact on the platform until recently. I’ve been working on a new adult dark horror novel and have decided to post chapters of the work in progress every Friday. If you enjoy being taken into a mag

Why am I posting my story for free on Wattpad?

It’s a way for me to test out all of my crazy ideas. It will allow me to receive feedback from the people who matter, my readers. I have to admit I’m scared out of my mind placing my writing out there for everyone to read. It’s way more terrifying to me than making up these scary stories. But I have to find a way to get past the fear and just do it. Violeta, the main character is demanding to be let out of the box.

You can find me on Wattpad here:  If you have a minute I would truly appreciate your support with a read or follow.  Thanks.

Here’s a description of the story:

The blood tingling adventure of reluctant supersensitive, Violeta, who has managed to keep her supernatural magical abilities secret until she gets bitten by a legendary power hungry Creole shape shifter, a Rougarou. She has 31 days to learn how to use her psychic abilities to break the curse or lose all her powers.

Are you using Wattpad?

Do you have any tips for me?


“Today is the day to move past your past, move closer to your dreams, rise above your detractors, feel the fear and do it anyway, stoop below your ego, get out of your own way, and allow your life to amaze you.” Elissa Gabrielle

“We should all start to live before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So are regrets.” Marilyn Monroe

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” Frank Herber

“He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.” Aristotle

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Style is a Way of Life ~ Design Yourself

Style is a way of life.

Regardless of industry or career, developing your style demonstrates mastery and professionalism.  Last night I was watching “The Eye Has to Travel” a documentary about the life of Diana Vreeland and found many great lessons.  She was editor of Vogue magazine for many years and one of her most famous quotes is regarding style.

“Style is a way of life, without it you’re nothing.”

I agree style is everything and I’m not speaking about fashion.  Style is what distinguishes you and your works from others.  It is your essence communicated through voice, perspective and attitude.  Your style is what ultimately shines through in your works whether you’re a designer, artist or teacher.  Vreeland didn’t have a formal education but she had the keen ability to see style in others and encourage the development of it in other artists.   Her employees, models and photographers all stated she would push them to do more until they produced their absolute best.

Vreeland worked within the constraints of industry which to this day is sexist, ageist and non inclusive. It’s pretty ironic but true, in an interview in the 1980’s she said highlighting the very thing that makes a person unique is what makes them beautiful and interesting.  Like her, I am uninterested in fitting into any mold.  For any apprentice it is okay to experiment and emulate others but ultimately you must design yourself.

give people what they cant get at home

In another great take away Vreeland also stated people only live through their dreams and imagination.  What a wonderful perspective.  If we give up on our dreams we are not living our lives to our fullest potential.  Our imaginations have no limits therefore your capabilities are endless.  Dream big then dream bigger.  Create your ideal world.

And finally a piece of advice to artists.  Give the audience what they can’t get at home.  Take them somewhere.  Tell a story.  This was exactly what she was great at.

Have you seen the documentary?  What did you think?  I recommend it.  You can find it on Netflix.

What are you inspired to create?


“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”  Maya Angelou

“In character, in manner, in style, in all the things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.”   Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“A writer’s style reveals something of his spirit, his habits, his capacites, his bias…it is the Self escaping into the open.”   E.B. White

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My Entry for Capture the Colour Travel Photography Contest

I’m obsessed with photography and when I heard about the Capture the Colour Travel Photography contest it sounded like fun.  I’m constantly taking photos wherever I go so it was very very very hard to chose just one photo to represent the five different colors: red, blue, green, yellow and white.  Here are my selections.  Which do you like best?


 Florida Everglades Bird

Most visitors to the Florida Everglades come to see the alligators but what they might not know is, it’s a wonderful place for bird watching.  I patiently canvassed the swampy waters and sawgrass with my camera lens when to my luck I noticed a red beak.  I walked as close as I dared without scaring this beautiful bird away or getting bit by one of the gators sun bathing on the tar road to capture this image.  This beauty is called a purple gallinule and as you can see has a variety of colors in its feathers.  It was the red beak contrasting with the green vegetation that gave him away.


Key Largo Florida Diving

This photo was taken from the top of a glass bottom boat in the United States first undersea park, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo.  That day the water was choppier than I had ever experienced so even though I don’t get seasick I was playing it safe above deck savoring a peppermint candy.  It was a gorgeous sunny day.  Toward the coast the water was a lovely jade color and toward the Atlantic it was a gorgeous deep blue shade that reminded me of a blueberry lollipop.  While enjoying the view a boat full of scuba divers anchored near us.  It’s scuba diver flag bobbing up and down over choppy waters.  Every day divers from all around the world come to explore the living coral reefs and natural wildlife habitat of this beautiful place.



 Bonaventure Cemetery Savannah Georgia

This photo is a of a statue in haunted Bonaventure cemetery in Georgia’s oldest city, Savannah.  There are many famous poets, writers, government officials and civil war heroes buried here.  It was a sweltering summer day even though we were shaded under the thick branches of the moss covered live oak trees when this solemn girl caught my attention.  Maybe it was the contrast between the living and the dead. The bright green vegetations which has been growing for centuries and the inanimate statue sitting there for what may be an eternity.  The dedication reads: “Allured to better worlds and led the way.” 1877.



I capture so many Florida sunsets it was very hard to chose just one.  I finally decided on this one which just happens to be my first ever instagram upload.



 Wynwood Walls

This photo was taken at one of my favorite places on the planet, Wynwood Florida.  Wynwood Walls is famous for its murals and graffiti.  They are everywhere.  This particular mural stood out to me not only because of its size, which takes up the entire side of a warehouse, but also its subject matter.  A beautiful boy pausing out of curiosity to dig for some treasure.  Sweet.

Now I will pass on the fun by nominating a few of my favorite travel bloggers.  I will be updating this post with more nominations.  My nominations are:

Adriana from La Dulce Vida The Sweet Life,  Paula from 365 Things to do in SWFL, Maria from Blogging Babies and the Bayou, Karla from Foodologie and Ana from Cabeza de Coco.



“What i like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” Karl Lagerfeld

“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” Marc Riboud

“For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.” Henri Cartier-Bresson


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Photos of Wynwood Graffiti Murals

Imagine a place where art is all around you. Yes art.  Art is expression.

Wherever you look, someone left traces of their creativity.

Leaving no place overlooked, it’s on the walls, on the street, windows, light poles even trash cans.

Where the wind carries the acrid chemical smell of spray paint but you don’t really mind it.  It’s a welcome relief from the humidity.

Where you have to be careful where you walk, lean and sit or come away with wet paint.

Where the streets are slanted, side walks broken, but you can still appreciate the beauty of decay on crumbling industrial buildings lovingly wrapped in barbed wire.

Wynwood Walls Murals Graffiti Miami Florida Wynwood2 Wynwood3 wynwood4 wynwood2011


Where mystery and the mysterious are not uncommon.

The Miami neighborhood of Wynwood is an ever changing canvas where you are sure to be uncertain what you will see or experience next.

Sometimes people are the art.  You will find them costumed or painted into the most interesting characters you never thought of.

Performance art is everywhere; a group of kids dancing on the corner, a DJ spinning creating an impromptu party on the sidewalk or  an acoustic duo playing outside a fancy new gallery.

You can get food from a truck or the ghostbusters station wagon inside a bar sometimes flea market.

This place inspires me.  I come away feeling the passion expressed in artists works.  It reminds me of the passion I have for expressing myself.

Gentrification has me worried about how much longer this place will exist.  Wherever these artists flee I will follow.


Have you been to see Wynwood walls?

Is there a place you always go to for inspiration?


“You must find the place inside yourself where nothing is impossible.”   Deepak Chopra

“One line placed on the canvas committed her to innumerable risks, to frequent and irrevocable decisions.” Virginia Woolf 

“I like that about art, that what you see is sometimes more about who you are than what’s on the wall.” Cath Crowley

“People say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible and childish… but that’s only if it’s done properly.”  Banksy

“Graffiti is not about clean lines, pretty colors and beautiful blends. Graffiti is my life’s turbulence exploded on a wall.” Mint Serf

“This world is but a canvas for our imagination.” Henry David Thoreau

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Meeting Bernice Steinbaum and Addressing the Lack of Latinas in Museums

My life is truly an adventure.  I never know what weird interesting things I’ll see or the cool people I’ll meet whenever I venture out of my house.  This year the Hispancize Conference added an extra day dedicated to art.  You know I was not going to miss out on anything art related.  Especially when it took place at one of my favorite places, Wynwood.  Noche de Diseño‎ was sponsored by Sherwin Williams featuring Sonia Velasquez host of Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Latin America.  We were not told ahead of time which galleries we would be stopping at but I was incredibly elated to visit the Zadok Gallery where the semi retired legend, Bernice Steinbaum, serves as curator.

Bernice Steinbaum is a legend because from the beginning of her career as gallery owner in the mid 80’s she has focused on showcasing women artists as well as artists of color.  If people like BS didn’t do so, these artists would have no other way of getting discovered.  The night I visited the gallery she mentioned being an original Guerilla Girl who are a group of feminists banding together to fight sexism and racism in the art world.

Rich people have always had a lot of stuff. A few centuries ago, they ran out of room in their palaces and churches, so they started art museums. The Guerrilla Girls love museums and all the art in them, but we worry about them, too. Why do they raise hundreds of millions for new buildings, then complain that they don’t have enough money to buy art? Why do they blow a fortune on a single painting by a white male genius when they could acquire hundreds of great works by women and people of color instead? Why do museum store execs get paid more than curators? ”  Guerilla Girls

Bernice Steinbaum Zadock Gallery

Bernice Steinbaum, me, Farah Mesa at the Zadok Gallery

The Zadok Gallery was the highlight of the evening for me.  Wearing her signature Prada eyeglasses and Chinese inspired one of a kind couture dress Bernice spoke passionately about the artists, their works and why she loved them.  Learning these interesting details made me enjoy the pieces even more.  I was so happy and inspired I spent the next day painting and working on a mixed media piece.  Below you will find a list of artists whose work was on display that particular evening.

A special message to museums and galleries wanting to tap into the growing [email protected] market.  Don’t disrespect me.  I don’t want museums to ‘attract’ me as a consumer.  I want to be included and equally represented.  I want to see my reflection everywhere I turn.  Yes it’s great to have a Latino Museum and Smithsonian Latino but don’t segregate me.  The United State’s Hispanic heritage is many centuries old, including colonies dating back to before the 1500’s, predating the arrival of other immigrants.  We built this country, we are this country.  Inclusive equal representation is how you will succeed.

And here’s what YOU can do to change the scene:

  • Support and visit galleries especially when [email protected] artists are on display.
  • Attend art events and festivals.
  • Purchase [email protected] art as an investment.

[email protected] should not be intimidated nor discouraged from entering the art industry either as artists or investors because the world’s richest are its greatest investors.

Check out some of the artists on display that night:

  • Gabriel Dawe whose work is centered in the exploration of textiles, aiming to examine the complicated construction of gender and identity in his native Mexico and attempting to subvert the notions of masculinity and machismo prevalent in the present day.
  • SeonGhi Bahk whose sculptural works reorder the natural arrangement of objects, enabling the viewer to imagine the existence and non-existence of an object.
  • Tatiana Parcero whose works explore the relationship between the human being and life; between man and earth; between nature and the body; religions, rituals and traditions of diverse cultures are -clearly or subtly- reflected in the images, using these elements to re-invent and recreate visual metaphors.
  • Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons work is an investigation of history and memory, and their roles in the formation of identity. Born in Matanzas province in Cuba in 1959, Campos-Pons bears a familial history that is intermingled with the sugar industry’s presence in her hometown of La Vega. Her roots can be traced from America, to a Cuban homeland, to the enslaved who were traded by Spanish colonists and finally back to what is today Nigeria.


“On a school trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum, when I followed a sign marked WOMEN, thinking it was an exhibition on the changing roles of women in society, and actually ended up standing in the ladies’ toilets.”  David Nicholls

“Philanthropists and donors traditionally haven’t been sufficiently interested in women’s rights abroad, giving money instead to higher brow causes such as the ballet or art museums. There could be a powerful international women’s rights movement if only philanthropists would donate as much to real women as to paintings and sculptures of women.”  Nicholas D. Kristof





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Art is More Than What You See, It’s What You Feel

“Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth.” Pablo Picasso

Work in progress ~ Mixed media with oils

What is art?  In the most simple terms Art is expression.  When I’m working on a piece I’m thinking of a particular emotion and expressing it in a form other than spoken or written language.  It is during this period of creation I feel peace, harmony and completely balanced.  I would also say that I feel connected to the universe and feel my spirit extending into it.
Every piece of art whether photography, painting or written conveys a story.
In this particular mixed media painting the words running through my mind were freedom and existo.  The emotion behind every stroke was determination.  Determined to discover and freely express one’s personal truth, actually my personal truth in particular.   I was thinking of the murkiness that exists in the world and how nothing is ever crystal clear or as it seems.  To discover our happiness requires us to sift through the layers around us to reveal our truths.  For example, media is not ethical nor balanced.  If you rely on one source for your information without consulting other sources you are stuck in that biased filter without balanced perspective.  When I’m writing a journalistic piece I must use verifiable sources yet when it comes to information received on a daily basis most people don’t bother to do that.  That is where art can come in to give us new perspectives we might never have considered.
This is where Leo Tolstoy’s definition of art leads us.  (I was thinking of him because I recently watched Anna Karenina.) In his beautifully written essay, Art and Sincerity, Tolstoy says art is a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress toward well-being of individuals and of humanity. Art connects us emotionally and elevate us hopefully to evolve into better people.
Are you working on any artistic projects?
Share them with me in the comments.



“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious – the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” Albert Einstein

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” Émile Zola

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Thomas Merton

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” Edgar Degas

“Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.” Maya Angelou

“We have art in order not to die of the truth.” Friedrich Nietzsche

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Inspiration from Rebel Artist Manet

“I need to work to feel well.” Edouard Manet
Le déjeuner sur l'herbe or The Luncheon on the Grass originally titled "Le Bain" (The Bath) is an oil on canvas painting by Édouard Manet created in 186
Le déjeuner sur l’herbe or The Luncheon on the Grass originally titled “Le Bain” (The Bath) is an oil on canvas painting by Édouard Manet created in 1862

Manet has popped up twice in my life this week.  When the universe speaks I will listen. The first was a very well done and quite interesting biography on French painter Edouard Manet by the BBC on Ovation TV.

Manet was considered a radical in his time for abandoning the techniques taught to him in school and inventing his own. As a result he was harshly criticized and mocked by both the general public and art critics of his time. Today Manet is considered the father of Impressionism.

Manet is amazing to me for expressing total artistic freedom.  First by not conforming to the methods of his day and second the subjects he tackled.  The subliminal messages in his works expose the hypocritical norms, practices and dictated norms of society forcing the viewer to question exactly why it is they’re offended.

You’ve heard the phrase and especially when it comes to art that nothing is original.  It is said that Le déjeuner sur l’herbe was inspired by the Italian Renaissance painter Titian which you can see in the photo below.  There is a difference between inspiration and interpretation in your own artistic style.

Concert Champêtre (ca. 1510) by the Italian Renaissance master Titian
Concert Champêtre (ca. 1510) by the Italian Renaissance master Titian

My second Manet run in with Manet’s piece was coming across a photo from the 1998 ad campaign for Yves Saint Laurent shot by photographer Mario Sorrenti.

Mario Sorrenti reinterprets Manets Le déjeuner sur l'herbe

Mario Sorrenti reinterprets Manets Le déjeuner sur l’herbe by reversing the roles of the men and women as well as eliminating some elements and darkening the scene.  I like that it gives us the opportunity to revisit Manet.

Does it push the boundaries like Manet did? At first glance I would say no because it’s not unusual for me to see an empowered woman in the sense she chooses how to dress, where and with whom to be.  However since it is 2013 and women have yet to achieve complete equality when it comes to pay, status and position I have to say it still is controversial.  Even worse women still have to fight the implementation of laws created to purposefully impede our complete freedom of self autonomy.  Sadly, I do have to admit ignorant stereotypes and roles for women still exist.

What can we learn:

–  Nothing is original
–   Inspired works are okay when done with an artistic style.
–   Women’s roles are still unequal and there is much work to do.

Manet challenges me and inspires me to cross the lines even farther. I accept the challenge and will try to do so with my own works.  I push the status quo every chance I get but in order to grow I must push myself even further.  All I have to do is think of Manet.

“Her nakedness was not absolute, for like Manet’s Olympia, behind her ear she had a poisonous flower with orange petals, and she also wore a gold bangle on her right wrist and a necklace of tiny pearls. I imagined I would never see anything more exciting for as long as I lived, and today I can confirm that I was right.” Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

“The attacks of which I have been the object have broken the spring of life in me… People don’t realize what it feels like to be constantly insulted. ”  Edouard Manet

“The leader, the hero of Realism, is now Manet. His partisans are frenzied and his detractors timid. It would seem that, if one refuses to accept Manet, one must fear being taken for a philistine, a bourgeois , an idiot who cares for nothing but miniatures and painted porcelain to discover whether one has become obese or bald, incapable of understanding the audacities of youth.” Théophile Gautier, writing in Le Moniteur universel.

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Don’t Hold Back ~ Vive la Vida

“You never lose by loving, you lose by holding back.” 
 photo libertadSCollage_zps3aa9f346.jpg
Libertad pa’ las Muñecas
Today is my birthday!!!

For the past last week I’ve been thinking about the fragility of life and the courage it takes to live the life you want and deserve.  I’ve also been working on several pieces for a series of mixed media paintings for a series called: “Libertad pa’ las Muñecas”.   They are both related in the sense it takes a strong belief in yourself, your works and your message to give you the courage to put it out there.

My birthday wish is for you is to be courageous.
Create something ~   Tell someone what they mean to you
Take a risk  ~  Vive la vida!

There’s a song by the Puerto Rican band, el Gran Combo, which really exudes my sentiments called ‘Que me lo den en Vida’.

If you have something to say or share with me, give it to me in life.



“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.” Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

“Memory is a snare, pure and simple; it alters, it subtly rearranges the past to fit the present.” Mario Vargas Llosa

“One lives in the hope of becoming a memory.” Antonio Porchia

“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.” Rainer Maria Rilke

“I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world, to release the truth within us, to hold back the night, to transcend death, to charm motorways, to ingratiate ourselves with birds, to enlist the confidences of madmen.” J.G. Ballard

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Empowering Latina Voices: Film Maker Fanny Velez

 photo homebound_zps5508053a.jpg

Latinos are no longer waiting for corporate media conglomerates to wake up and smell the coffee. With the tools at our disposal we are taking matters into our own hands and creating our own opportunities. Filmmaker Fanny Veliz did precisely this and raised funds to shoot her first feature film. Now that the film is completed she has created yet another opportunity for you to get involved with your local communities to create positive change.

Please read the following press release and contact Ms. Veliz with any questions.

Indie Film “Homebound” Uses Community Screenings to Raise Audience Awareness
Filmmaker Fanny Véliz wants to bring the Hollywood machine to her.

Los Angeles, CA – January 7th, 2013 – Writer/Director and actress Fanny Véliz raised production funds to shoot her first feature film, Homebound last year, through the increasingly popular internet crowd funding method. Now that the film is complete she is turning to the community once again with a unique concept.
“Use my film to raise funds for your organizations, it’s a win-win situation.” Says Véliz. The goal is to show to Hollywood that there’s a hungry audience out there ready for a film like HOMEBOUND.  It is about empowering the community to empower filmmakers to tell the Latino stories Hollywood chooses to neglect.

“I’m committed to helping transform the image of Latinos in the media by telling stories that aren’t usually told,” says Veliz. “We are all used to seeing stories of immigration, gangs, and other stereotypes, this film shows another side of the American Latino. Homebound is an American story, a human story told with an American Latino cast.”  Homebound tells the story of Richard Lynn, a successful young Latino business professional who returns to his small hometown in Texas to help his dying father. His father insists he take over the family business, a bar. Secretly, the young man wants to burn down the bar because he blames it for the death of his own mother and the illness of his father. In the process he rediscovers his childhood’s small town and falls truly in love for the first time.

The film features a cast of seasoned actors which includes Enrique Castillo, whose work in such films as El Norte, Mi Familia and the cult classic Blood In Blood Out have made him a fan favorite among Latino audiences and his role in Showtime’s Weeds has made him a hit among mainstream audiences. Texan born Julia Vera, who has built a career as a character actress in film and television for over twenty years is not only an actress in Homebound, she is also invested in the film as an associate producer. Richard Lynn is played by a dynamic young actor, Jeremiah Ocañas, who not only plays the lead, he is also a native El Campo, Texas, where the film was shot. El Campo served not only as the prime location, but its citizens helped facilitate permits, meals, lodging, a source of talent pool for minor roles and the extras, and even a helicopter needed for the shoot. Fanny Véliz, in addition to her producing, writing, and directing duties also plays the female lead in the film.

Community is at the centerpiece of this undertaking. It takes a community, and Véliz is hoping to once again enlist community and embrace the film through the “Community Screenings” concept, and help them raise awareness of the film.

The production company is currently looking for organizations, companies or individuals nationwide that would like to host a “Community Screening” of the film. They would need to commit to create a screening, which would raise money for their own Non-Profit organization or other Non-Profits they wish to benefit. Each host will receive a Homebound Party Pack that will take them step by step on how to tailor the event to the Homebound theme.

To sign up to host a Screening of Homebound in your city please email:[email protected]
For more information on the film Homebound go to

Homebound Official Trailer

Why is it important to support this film?
The success of this film opens doors for new voices creating more opportunities.
 Let’s support each other and grow.

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Have you watched the documentary movie Lemon yet?

LEMON the Movie – Official Trailer

I really LOVEd this raw, honest and touching film. At times it made me cry but not without giving me optimism and hope. From the beginning of the movie I rooted for him to succeed for all the little boys and girls caught up in the cycle of our violent oppressive society, for those who never received the awareness, education, resources or tools to break free and the ones who died trying.

“Lemon Anderson is a Tony award winning playwright, performer and poet. The film is about Andersen’s struggle to free his family from poverty and pain as he exposes his most shocking secrets on the NY stage. It follows Lemon’s desperate battle to keep the past where it belongs and move into a brighter future. Redemption may lie within Lemon’s grasp when none other than Spike Lee steps in to produce his show. The stakes are high. With the power of a cliffhanger, asks the larger question: Can any of us really escape the past?”

Most beautiful Lesson from the movie:
will get you to where you want to be. 
Lemon Andersen- County of Kings

If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend it and if you did I’d love to hear what you think.
Support your community by supporting these types of films and talent.  Be a part of this positive growth and watch if flourish into something even greater.

This is not a sponsored post.  I love movies. What should I watch next?

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