Author Archives: Aya

Notes From The 6 Train: Read Your Way To Inner Peace

As a follow up to my most recent post I have a few exploratory works that may assist you in the your winter time of self discovery.

The following books are on the more metaphysical side, which is perfect since you will have the plenty of time to mull them over once the snow begins to pour down upon us. To align with the idea of looking back, we can use these creations to help us shape our future.

This is the version I purchased

This is the version I purchased

Tao Te Ching
I’ve read and caught glimpses of the Tao Te Ching but it wasn’t until this semester that I’ve read this holy text in it’s entirety. The Tao Te Ching is the primary text used by Taoists. I don’t use the Tao Te Ching for religious reasons, but as a guide and reminder as how to move through life. In the simplest terms, its simply to exist in the middle, displaying balance during the most ecstatic and the most challenging time times of life.

Here are a few chapters from the Tao Te Ching:

Chapter 9:

Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people’s approval
and you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.

Chapter 19:
Throw away holiness and wisdom,
and people will be a hundred times happier.
Throw away morality and justice,
and people will do the right thing.
Throw away industry and profit,
and there won’t be any thieves.

If these three aren’t enough,
just stay at the center of the circle
and let all things take their course.

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The Untethered Soul

This is one of my cherished books. It was gifted to me from a really important mentor in my life, (which if you don’t know have a mentor, not just a career oriented one, but also people who support your growth in other ways, be open to getting one).
This book is about moving outside of your immediate self and living life as if “there were a knife suspended above your head.” Because essentially, there is. Reading this book has the same of impact of having a near death experience, without the melodramatics, you end up with the same feeling of wanting to live your life to its fullest capacity.

I hope these tools gets you started on your quest for inner serenity once the weather becomes absolutely crazy. If you can find peace during New York winters, you might be the next Dali Lama.

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From The 6 Train: Winter Wonda-Land

In case you all didn’t weren’t attuned…it’s officially winter! Yay!

I know its been feeling quite winter-esque for the past few months, but yesterday marks the official beginning of winter. Winter can be challenging, as it creates of atmosphere of hibernation and isolation. Both of these can be draining, if you let it simply happen to you as opposed to settling into acceptance and/or appreciation.

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To be honest, this is the first time in my entire life that I’ve been so welcoming of winter. The cold is difficult for me. And until last winter, I had never actually had to live in real snow (I come from Atlanta, so you know snow was a rarity for me.) However, I noticed a real shift within myself as the winter equinox this time. I am feeling the hibernation energy. More and more I realize how the outer climate impacts the inner climate. Just as all the creatures are preparing for winter, we should be as well. This means some type of hibernation, staying in to work on our passion project, watching, reading or creating all the things you’ve been “meaning to,” and more than anything, this is a time for self reflection. As the year comes to and end, there is no time like the present to review this past year. I don’t mean some basic surface level “review,” but taking a hot bubble bath and plunging into yourself. They’ll be no reason to rush out, the cold wants you to do just a little more self care than usual.

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-If that sounds like a bit of a challenge, here are some easy tips via Deepak Chopra to have a happy, healthy, winter. (That’s not boring, because I know that’s one complaint I hear often)

Walk in the sunshine for 10 minutes every day it’s sunny.
Walk in a really cheerful place when it’s cloudy, such as a park of arboretum where the trees are majestic in winter.
Spend regular time with the most cheerful people I know.
Take up a light recreational sport at the community center.
Mentor a young person.
Plan a dream vacation in every detail, living it through beautiful photos and magazine articles so that it feels as real as possible.
Turn quiet time alone into something inspiring by reading spiritual books or poetry.
Write letters, making each as entertaining as possible to the recipient.
These are all energizing options, the very opposite of dull. And that’s the key. Find inputs that are complete opposites of the conditioning that keeps you stuck in a negative situation.

Here’s the link if interested in the rest of this extremely helpful article.

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From the 6 Train: Holiday Trunk Show

Shop small!

I am all about it. I have never participated in Black Friday or Cyber Monday. I’m not a fan of being squished into large small areas with a bunch of rambunctious shoppers. I’d rather be in the house with my friends and family swimmingly in love, (and leftover food.)

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I am lucky enough to work with a company, A. Bernadette, that hold the same type of ideals as me. They don’t seek to be a huge, fashion monopoly, and instead value interpersonal connections with customers. These values were reflected in the holiday trunk show which was buy one, get one free for friends and family.

The trunk show was unlike any other I’ve ever been to. Since it was family oriented, (though it wasn’t my family, but my boss’s, it was super cute to see) we all cooked, ate together and shopped together. (Well, they shopped, I try not to spend allll my pay at the company I work for.)

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This holiday season has been much more family oriented for me than last year. This is a testament to several things; if you are new to the city and still feel alone, it’s OK. Community takes time to build, but if you are open, it comes. Secondly, I am confident in what type of work environment I thrive in and want to continue to work in after graduation. It’s important to honor what type of environment feels right to you and seek out that type of place. This sounds easy enough, but you’d be surprise what type of decisions are made once graduation starts drawing nearer. Once you learn what type of work culture suits you, pay attention.

Maybe then you’ll get invited to fun trunk shows and free food like me!

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From The 6 Train: Thankful for Thanksgiving

How was your Thanksgiving!?

I hope it was spectacular as mines. This Thanksgiving was particularly special as I got to spend it with my best friend in Boston.

No, that's not what you think. It just seems red cups are the only readily available cups on college campuses. (go figure)

No, that’s not what you think. It seems red cups are the only readily available cups on college campuses. (go figure)

After the four hour ride at 2 am in the morning I arrived to Boston just as it began to snow. I am not a fan of snow primarily because it’s a indicator of just how cold it is outside, but I didn’t mind the snow this time. It was my very first white holiday (white as opposed to brown that often results after snow has been trampled on). This was the first time I’ve cooked traditional Thanksgiving food. I prepared dinner with my best friends from Atlanta who go to school in Boston.

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I traveled to Boston for Thanksgiving, despite the freezing cold, to be surrounded by people who love me. With all the craziness and let downs (specifically of our judicial system and the recent rulings of the murders of Micheal Brown and Eric Garner) I’ve been in less than a joyful spirit. In fact, I’ve been extremely frustrated and sad, so taking a momentary break from it was necessary for my sanity.

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I felt extremely grateful to spend Thanksgiving with long life friends to cook a number of fantastic dishes, we prepared macaroni and cheese, kale, cornbread, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and an orange, cinnamon & apple cider drink. The best part was that it was all vegetarian. (Yay!, I literally went around replacing chicken stock with vegetarian broth so that I could eat it. Sometimes, you have to be proactive.) We brought of all our food to a huge potluck to dine, play cards and spend hours conversing until the wee hours of the morning. I go to experience a piece of home in Boston and get a few days to recharge. I hope you did too.

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From The 6 Train: TADA! (Theatre)

So, now that you guys know how I enjoy lights and slowly things I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I went to play performed completely in… Black Light!

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I went to see Anasi, The Spider at TADA Theatre a few weeks back. It was amazing! Anasi, The Spider is a series of stories that come from West Africa. He’s considered to be the God of all stories and also is the village trickster. Anasi is one the most popularized and important figures in Caribbean and African folklore.

This play was particularly important for me because I grew up on this story. My best friend’s father is a writer and storyteller and would tell this story at all the birthday parties and family functions. This tale is the most vivid story of my entire childhood.

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It was only fitting that the play was performed by children. (I know this sounds super corny but hear me out.) This was such a freeing night! Due to the fact that my friend and I were two of the only adults at the event (without children that is), we were completely uninhibited. The show was spectacular, the acting dancing and costumes were astounding. And the bet part was that afterwards, the kids played the drums onstage and we got to go onstage and dance.

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This was a nice break from all the projects and tests I’ve been preparing for. I realized that the next time I need a break, I will be heading to the nearest kids theatre where we can all dance freely with no judgement. Finding new ways to take a break from school stress is exciting.

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From The 6 Train: Putting Your Passion into Practice

As the semester begins to draw to a close it’s a good time to reflect on the classes I’ve been taking this semester. Of the six classes I’ve been taking this semester there are three that I will highlight during the next few weeks.

The Art of Writing Poetry: This was my favorite class.I am a writer, so big surprise there. That was actually the exact reason that I choose this class. As a blogger and freelance writer, it’s easy for me to write for others and stop focusing on writing for myself. Writing is a healing mechanism for me. So I made a conscious effort to not let myself slide down the rabbit hole of not writing, and took a class that would encourage me to write. This class has provided me with writing assignments that have kept me engaged with the world around me, my experience and myself, throughout the entire semester. In addition to our homework, we had to record ten observations of out our surrounding world, statements that start with “I see,” or “I hear.”

My professor encourages us to chance takes with our words, cut out half the words in the poem and then rearrange the line order. Or she gives us two minute writing exercises. I appreciate being pushed to further develop my writing. Here are few examples of my observations:

(I hear) a train conductor swinging words like a baseball bat.Inflection up & down. The sixth, seventh, eight, last inning. Your stop.

(I feel) suspended in reality, hovering above hieroglyphics, moments.

(I see) six shades of myself. Bouncing off car mirrors, street corners & cement cracks, heading towards the same place.

Then she tells us to play with line breaks like this:

Six shades of
myself

Bouncing off car
mirrors, street

corners, golden
cracked, cement

towards the same
place.

And/Or remove half of the words

Shades of
myself

Bouncing off

golden
cracked
corners

The best part is that during our student/ teacher conference (yes, it is mandatory meeting) to go over your work and suggestions to grow as a writer. During my one on one I received helpful feedback and even talked to my professor, (who is a published write and continues to publish) about possible publishing. That’s why it’s so imperative to meet with you teachers that you connect with, they are a wealth of knowledge. So hopeful, I will be a published writer soon (wouldn’t that be exciting!)

I just want to point out that you don’t have to desert your passion(s) while in school. But it’s your responsibility to incorporate it your curriculum.

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From The 6 Train: NYFOL!

I love lights. There’s a certain mystic energy that lights emit that I connect with. And I’m always a fan of festivals, I appreciate the togetherness that they bring. So what could be better than a combination of the two?

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The First Annual New York Festival of Lights (or NYFOL- New Yorkers love acronyms even if they are not helpful in deciphering what they are describing) in Dumbo! So this weekend a friend & I traveled down to Brooklyn to see what the hype was all about.

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Light inspired events let me know that the holiday season is officially upon us. The experience was a bit nostalgic for me because as a child I would visit the Festival of Tree every year with my girl scout troupe. I even went to the festival of lights at the Botanical Gardens once (in Atlanta, I’m not sure if that’s an event here in New York.)

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There were a number of light shows all three nights paired with music or poetry. There were a live performances. There was also a number of communal events for all to enjoy, take for the instance the heart filling station, where participants entered a tent and were submerged in love evoking images shown onto two of the walls of the tent. On the remaining walls were art pieces with similar messages.

Also, it’s always a pleasure to take part in the first of any event, (especially if it’s a free event, gotta get it before they start charging!) This event was successful, so I am sure that it will continue to happen for many years to come. I will be attendance for sure.

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From The 6 Train: Open House 2k14

A few weeks ago was FIT’s annual Open House! The bloggers got to participate and spoke on the LIFE at FIT panel. This was my first Open House ever. When I applied to FIT I wasn’t able to the FIT Open House. So thanks to everyone who’s checking out our blog byway of Open House.

FIT tour guides!

FIT tour guides!

I appreciated the opportunity bloggers we’re always behind the screen. Though we get numbers on views, it can begin to feel like we’re writing into a void, especially when no one comments on our posts (so comment if you have a question or suggestion. we ALL love it!) It’s such a pleasure to connect with our audience in real time, in front of the screen. (That way you can see just how attractive and witty we all are in real life.)

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Having this opportunity to interact with prospective students reminded me of how nerve wracking this entire “life after (high) school,” rhetoric can be. Many of these worries and thoughts are similar to students preparing to graduate FIT. Many of us (shoutout to Sadie) can sympathize and relate to those questions that tend to bubble up, no matter how many deep breathing exercises we do. Questions such as what happens now?, am I making the right choice?, what if this isn’t the right choice?, and all the other questions that sprout in our minds when faced with uncertainty.

I dare say most are more nervous when graduating college because unless there is no orderly roadmap to success. No more checking boxes to register for classes and following syllabus to know that what you’re doing is going to get you exactly what you want. And that’s okay, in fact it’s as equally as exciting as it is nerve-racking. It means that another layer of possibilities has just been unfolded.

Look how Sadie is!

Look how Sadie is!

The good news, at least for the students at Open House, is that you are beginning to take control ownership of your life. By taking the time and exploring, researching, comparing and learning about what school, or maybe realizing that school is not in your plans right now,you have stepped into the driver’s seat of your destiny. That is something to be celebrated. As application season continues, remember that you are in control of your own destiny.

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From The 6 Train: Quintessential Halloween Post

Last year I was stuck in class while the parade was going on and went afterwards because it was so cold outside. So as far as I’m concerned, that doesn’t count. So hooray for my first Halloween In NYC!

My Halloween ended up being much different than I had expected. It looked like this:

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as opposed to this:

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I’ve been working and training at an aerial and fitness dance studio in Chelsea the past four months. I attended my dance studio’s annual party an it was a blast! I got to see ghouls, goblins, ninjas & mermaids hanging, swinging and flying through the air. It was magical. It was beyond inspiring to see my peers, the people I work and train, performing so beautifully. It almost looked effortless, but because I know the amount of hard work and dedication that goes into any type of dance, especially aerials, I would be a fool to think that this feat was effortless.

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After the performances we all got together and jammed. In the midst of this jamfest, I looked around and realized just how fortunate I am to have entered into a whole new community or creative, passionate and driven people (much like students at FIT.) The longer I live in New York, the more obvious it becomes to me just how many opportunities there are to create the life you want. As always, I encourage students to go out in the city and explore! We live in a city of chance. After this reaffirmation, I continued to dance until the wee hours of the morning. Best Halloween I’ve had in a long time.

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From the 6 Train: Hedwig & The Angry Inch

You can always tell when midterms or finals have arrived because a) the blog becomes un-characteristically barren or b) the few posts are information heavy and not about fun stuff. But, now that this time of the semester is over, we will all be back! Yay!

Hedwig & the Angry Inch Belasco Theatre

I want to talk about the incredible show I saw a few weeks ago. I got the pleasure of seeing Hedwig & The Angry Inch for 20 bucks, thanks to FIT and their student priced tickets. If you don’t know what this is, I’m sure you’ve been subjected to the one of a million posters that are posted throughout the MTA. This is, by far, one of the best perks of being a student in NYC. If you’ve been following the blog for a while you will remember that I got to see A Raisin In the Sun (starring Denzel Washington) last semester. Hedwig & The Angry Inch is a Tony award winning musical playing on Broadway, starring Michael C. Hall. Michael plays an East German transgendered singer whose the vocalist for a rock band. Everything about the show was phenomenal. The plot was fresh (what better time to have seen this then in October, which is LGBT month), the music ranged from rock ballads to nearly screamo, but every song was performed flawlessly. The set the musical was constantly changing and kept the audience engaged. Finally, the hair, makeup and outfits were spectacular.

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I really enjoy going to plays via FIT because I am usually sitting next to another FIT student, so I get to meet new people that I have something in common with. And we know meeting people organically, create the strongest relationships.

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.