Yes. I deleted this post. Honestly after I wrote it, I myself felt that it was a little judgmental. There are so many people with so many different stories I can't begin to put anybody into a box. It was on my mind off and on for the past few weeks, so I just decided… " Aja, you don't need to back this up if you feel differently about what you wrote now." So I took it down. Love you all. Thanks for helping me grow.
I am going to be a mother. Its the greatest gift of my life. I am tremendously fortunate to have a loving family, and a perfect husband to support me in my choice to be a mother. My life has been a series of coincidental blessings. I wouldn't say that it has been a perfect road, however I would say that it has brought me to what feels like a perfect destination.
I married my best friend despite our drastically different upbringing, and our misguided understanding of what normalcy meant. I had the courage to follow my heart in a world where people get caught up in the logistics.
If I could pin point utter and complete happiness, it would be me today. I feel that I have everything. Does this mean I have a mansion in the hills? No. Does it mean that I have fulfilled my aspirations of being a successful artist? Maybe.
What my happiness means to me is that I have followed my heart, and allowed the beautiful spirit to guide me.
My life mission is to convert negative energy into positive energy. Its to come into a place where I can choose to be happy no matter what the given circumstances are. I hope to impact peoples lives in a positive way, and to surround myself and my family with as much beauty and light as possible. As a singer, my goal is to spread love and light. I consider myself a communicator before I am even a technical singer. I also want to be a good mother. A good teacher, and a good partner to my husband. And I am sure our child will teach us just as equally. Those are the things that are important to me.
I haven't documented my pregnancy thus far publicly. Mainly because I am a pretty shy person, although I know thats not how it might seem. I felt that it would be important for me to include the people that have so inspired me in years past. You. So, here is my baby girl all wrapped up in her little cocoon in my belly. She is healthy as far as we know, and very used to her daddy's music as we have been on tour throughout his rise up the charts. In a few weeks Nico Vega will tour for about ten days on the west coast and I am hoping to see some of you.
Thank you for allowing me to share this beautiful experience with all of you. If there is one last thing I would like to leave you with, it is this...
Its easy to find problems to focus on. Its also easy to take issue with every menial misfortune in life. The challenge is to find and experience happiness. The trick is that its not something that you must find. Its something you already have. You either choose it, or you choose otherwise. That is how I became happy. I chose it. And this little girl is every bit a part of that bliss.
Spring cleaning is more important than most of us think. Winter is a very stagnant time period. There are many amazing things about it, but feeling fresh and new is something that happens in the springtime. Its part of the cycle of life, and its our opportunity to be reborn in our lives, and bring in new energy. Don't be afraid of getting rid of things. We are fortunate enough in this country to have the luxury of owning junk. If your junk doesn't make you feel good when you look at it, get rid of it. Out with the old. It doesn't matter that its worth something, or someone special gave it to you. If it drags you down at all, or is just in the way, ditch it! Life is not about material possessions anyway. I was fortunate enough to have a mom and dad that taught me to clean. If you didn't have that, it doesn't mean you have to live like a slob. You deserve to feel good in your personal space too. When they say, "Messy bed messy head." they are referring to how hard it is to focus when you live in chaos. Creativity needs space to be free. It needs a clean slate to flourish. This is a small reminder that spring is the time to have a page turn. One of the first steps is cleaning. Create a new space where you feel free, and this next year will have the chance it deserves to be your year. In with the new!
Today I would like to write about the Holidays. We all have different experiences surrounding them. For some of us, they hold fond memories. For others the Holidays may remind us of painful experiences, or stress. We all know that the Holidays are supposed to be about family, and maybe thats why they can be tough at times. Not everybody is in love with their family. In fact, I know quite a few people who have never felt loved or supported by the people they are related to. In turn its hard for them to love back. Its okay to try and accept things as they are if you can't change them. Nobody has complete control on the outcome of a situation. There are always so many factors. Surrendering and trying to let go, or accept may be the only peaceful option. Even then, it may not feel peaceful. That being said, this time of year might reel in a lot of emotions. It is also the time of year when things might feel stagnant. People are wrapped up with their families. Business may be slow, unless you are in retail. Creative inspiration may dwindle as mine does. It's the end of the year, and we are all getting ready for a new perspective. In winter things die. In spring they are born. I have always loved the Holidays. They bring nostalgic memories of being a child. We celebrated Christmas in my family, and it was the time of year when my brother would stay the night, and my mom would wake up at 5 in the morning. Sometimes I would wake her up, but I think she was just as excited as I was. We would make a fresh pot of coffee, and cocoa, and go into the living room. My mom would bring out a tray of pastries or homemade donuts. The stockings were my favorite part because of the little individually wrapped, well thought out trinkets. I could have had a stocking full of second hand goodwill finds (Which usually was the case) , and it would still have been my favorite part. As I grew older, we decided to make a new policy. We would only gift stockings at Christmas, and that most of the contents needed to be second hand. Some people in my family have a bit of stress surrounding Christmas. The time, money, wastefulness, and feeling like they would disappoint began to spoil the beauty of it. In recent years it has made things a lot easier to have second hand options. It's not as wasteful. Christmas became more about food, and gathering together. I have thought really hard about what the Holiday season is about. We know that Christmas is about Christ the savior coming into the world to bring light, joy, peace, and acceptance. Im not making this a religious post, but I want to point out something that may help people appreciate this Holiday more. Tis the season to be Jolly. It's the time of year when we should take time out of our busy schedules to connect. It's the time of year to spend more time thinking about others than ourselves. It's the time of year to help someone. It's the time of year to make an effort to be more loving and accepting of those that surround us. One of the most important things that you can do this time of year is listen. Listen to the people that you love. Ask them how they are. Ask them if the need any help. Show them that they are a priority. Give love. If there is someone far away that you are thinking about, write them a letter. If you are poor and you can't afford gifts, send an email with links to all of the things you would buy for them if you could afford it. I promise you it will be far greater than any gift you can buy. Don't let your memories of this season determine its meaning. Create a new memory full of thoughtfulness, and love. Talk to strangers. Offer help. Don't be too shy or prideful. The worst thing that can happen is a simple no thank you. This Holiday season is not about money, or gluttony, or wastefulness, or material things. It is about giving love unconditionally. Happy Holidays to all of you beautiful people in the world.
Some people can't have all the delicious goodies at the dessert table around the holidays. Its important to find ways to include the people that have food allergies in on the fun. In our family, there are a few people with a wheat allergy. Here is a delicious alternative to a holiday loaf that I got from a great book on low starch. You definitely need to go to a health food store to get the ingredients, but the consensus in our household is that it's worth it. For those with an allergy to nuts, this won't work.
Here are the ingredients you are going to need.
2 cups blanched almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup light oil
1 1/2 tablespoon honey or agave syrup
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 egg whites, beaten to soft peaks
lets get started!
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, combine almond
flour, coconut flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Mix the oil, honey, buttermilk and eggs together before adding them to
the dry ingredients. Mix to combine. Gently fold in the egg whites.
Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake in the oven for 50
minutes to one hour or until a toothpick comes out clean when
inserted in the center and the loaf feels relatively firm to the touch.
When I took the loaf out of the oven, I wished that I had done a better job greasing the pan. It ended up working out okay though. I usually serve this loaf sliced and toasted with butter, or earth balance spread and agave nectar on top. However, my favorite way to eat it, is shown above. I spread a thin layer of greek yogurt on top and add my choice of berry. To finish it off, I drizzle honey or agave nectar to sweeten.
It's so good, that you won't miss the junk food one bit! Enjoy!
|My Christmas tree this year.|
You can reduce your households waste this year by creating a christmas tree out of things that you already have around your house. Here are three examples that I have pulled together. I have to credit my mother in sending me these ideas from an online magazine. The fist one is my own rendition of the idea. I have friends that celebrate all sorts of holidays this time of year, and I have used this opportunity to find things around my house to represent the people that I love. Have fun with it!
|Pieces of old wood, either glued or hammered together.|
|This Tree was posted on Nico Vegas facebook page. I love the use of natural objects.|
|If you are someone who collects lots of little things, this approach is a good one for you.|
There are lots of ways to be resourceful around the holidays, and it feels good not to add to the mass amounts of waste when we don't need to. I think that gifts wrapped in newspaper are underrated, and I am always a fan of reusing wrapping paper as my family knows. Also, giving a gift in a basket, or some kind of a beautiful box that can be used around the house is a good idea. Don't be afraid to work outside the box on this one. The chances are, your friends and family will be surprised by your craftiness.
|My Mother Rogene Manas|
I woke up today compelled to blog about women that have inspired me in one way or another. I love these women so much because of what they represent in society. Some of them have been frowned upon for the mistakes that they have made in years past. I identify with some of them because of their mistakes and ability to recover. I identify with others because they went where no woman had gone before. It is so important to have role models that inspire you. Not just saints and untouchables, but real life people that represent a goal, a destination, a strength, or a will to persevere. I don't believe in idolizing people in an inhuman way. It can be unhealthy to aspire to BE someone that you aren't. Each one of us has a strength, and a uniqueness inside that we choose, or choose not to tap into. We can be LIKE others, but we are always exactly ourselves.
I started the blog off with a picture of my beautiful mother. She has always been the most stable thing about my life. We were best friends the moment I got into this world, and have been ever since. She was more or less a single mom raising 2 children while pursuing a career in art. She is the person who has taught me about buying second hand , and recycling. She makes 75% of the gifts she gives from scratch, and they are always more amazing than anything else I get. My mom is a true artist in every aspect of her life. I wouldn't be a musician, nor would I have pursued a life in art if it were not for her.
Bjork. One of the most inventive musical, and visual artists of all time. She never ceases to amaze me. She has also performed pregnant, and managed to stay out of the limelight as a mother her entire career. Bjork is the definition of someone who paves their own path. She is true inspiration.
People that know me well know that musically I have been inspired by Tina Turner. She was the voice that encouraged me to become a rock singer. Tina Turner has been through so many trials, and has managed to come out on top. I love this woman.
Angelina Jolie. A mother of 6, a goodwill ambassador of the United Nations, a jet setter, an actress, and someone who used her face to help save the world. Rag on her all you want. She does more good than anybody in her industry.
Maryl Streep. This woman is a master of her trade. She deserves every bit of hype that she gets. Maryl Streep is so inspiring to me. Her ability to transform herself and create the most convincing character(s) is undeniable. I have yet to see a better actor or actress.
Thank you to these women for inspiring me with their individuality, and strength.
|Manipulated cotton by Raquel.|
|Manipulated cotton, and leather work by Raquel Allegra|
|These leather leggings are one of Raquel's newer designs.|
I cannot have a blog without mentioning my friend Mercedes Helnwein. Her artwork is incredible. Mercedes is the daughter of the legendary Gottfried Helnwein. No doubt talent runs in the family. When I met Mercedes she told me that she had been drawing seriously for only a few years. That was about 5 years ago. Her early work was already amazing and in a short time it has become quite epic. One of the things I admire most about Mercedes is her workspace. She has a large one bedroom loft and the walls are all white. She has collected a few pieces of vintage furniture keeping a sparse minimalist vibe. Her drawings are up all over the walls. From the moment you enter Mercedes' studio you feel as though you are privileged to witness a private look at one of the greats. I encourage everyone to look into the work of the entire Helnwein family. They are all a true piece of history in the making. I have learned from Mercedes that it is important to live in a space that I feel free enough to create in. I know that my surroundings effect my inspiration. One old phrase comes to mind. "Messy bed, messy head".
So. As some of you may know, I am a big advocate of thrift store shopping. Anything from goodwill, to the higher end thrift stores. I love reusing things that had a previous life. I also think that it is easier to be creative with your money by shopping second hand.
I love Goodwill to no end, but I will say that some people need more help finding treasures. Goodwill can be overwhelming. I have listed 3 stores in 3 cities that I really like. I found them on the road while I was traveling with Nico Vega. I urge you to look into these thrift spots because they all have a unique voice about them. There are also people working that can help you find something that uniquely represents you.
|Squaresville in Los Angeles. I love this store. I find 50% of the dresses that I wear on stage at Squaresville. Its reasonably priced, and has a lot of taste.|
Make second hand your first choice.