It's that time again when I get to share my thoughts and feelings about Life and what moves me. I thought about my circle and the people that are really out there living and going after their dreams. Jay Stilla came to mind. He was my younger cousins friend from high school. The kid was crazy, funny and so full of energy. At one point I hired him at a retail chain I was working for, he drove me nuts calling out sick from partying all night, coming to work with crazy hairstyles and just DIFFERENT! Aside from his craziness, Jay was a great guy. He always made everyone laugh and put in extra hours for me when I needed him at work. One thing that stood out more than his hair was his love for music. I remember he was messing around with his friend Marlon (MDot) rapping and playing with his keyboard, creating beats, writing lyrics and having fun doing it. That was more than 17 years ago. Today Jay Stilla is a respected Music Producer, well known in the Bay Area for his underground sound, unique mixes and eclectic style. He's a self-made entrepreneur and his empire continues to thrive. I have so much love and respect for Jay. Despite his accomplishments he stays humble and grateful, always giving back to his community and supporting so many different charities. By sharing his story I hope to inspire all the young people out there who need positive roll models, especially the ones from our neighborhood in San Francisco! Thank you Jay for sharing your talent and your dreams.
If you want to learn more about Jay Stilla and his music please visit his websitewww.thebeatcellar.com, follow him on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram@jaystilla.
What inspired you to start The Beat Cellar?
I was initially inspired to start The Beat Cellar to create a platform of sorts to use as a tool for my team of artists to gain exposure in the music/entertainment industry. The Beat Cellar was, and still is, in essence, an independent music label. But through my experiences (successes and failures) and growth (industry savviness) in what I, along with my artists' and team members have built, The Beat Cellar has evolved into much more than a music conglomerate - we've become a brand that represents creativity, community togetherness and outreach, unity amongst our peers, and a connection we all share (if we allow to do so) in this line of work. We constantly challenge ourselves to become better at our crafts, create better music while maintaining out own musical identity, and we also try to make a difference in our community when and wherever we can. I'm thankful and proud of my team and I hope our bodies of works, both in community outreach and music production, influence those who follow us to do the same.
Who in your life was your biggest influence?
I don't have one specific influence I have many. In my childhood years, I credit a lot of my family members for influencing me to become involved with music. My older brother Rene, who has been playing the drums (double bass kit) and guitar ever since I can remember, planted a seed in me at around 5 years old. My Uncle Rich (RIP) and Uncle Arthur played the piano and guitar at every family gathering during the holidays, playing oldies like The Commodores, a lot of Earth, Wind, and Fire, Santana, Van Halen (early years), Lionel Richie, The Stylistics, and The O' Jays, which definitely inspired me to play instruments. Other influences I had later on in my teenage years when I started producing my own music were producers like Black C (RBL), Khayree, JT (Figg Panamera), then on to E-A-SKI, Dr. Dre, Mannie Fresh, The Neptunes, (early) Kanye, and Timbaland (along with Missy Elliot) among others.
Tell me about a time where you wanted to give up your dream… What helped you to continue?
There were a few times I felt discouraged and no longer wanted to continue working in the music/entertainment industry, but family, friends, and prayers kept me going. There was a time in my life when I was serving in the US Military, I felt disconnected from music and my friends (music group), I stopped making music for a couple of months - maybe 7 months or so. I prayed to GOD about what I was doing and what I should be doing with music many nights, and at the end of that 7-month stint, I somehow was drawn back to making music. I realized then that I couldn't stop (making music). Being involved in music is who I am and if I had music removed from my life, I wouldn't be happy. My faith drives me, my physical form allows me to do what I do, and GOD guides me to where I need to go. Nowadays, I do a lot more than produce music, I manage the business, I help develop artists, I dabble in merchandising, I oversee projects, and I collaborate with others to put together fundraisers and other events. Everything I mentioned helps me keep going because there is so much to do and so much ground to cover.
What legacy do you want to leave?
My legacy? I want to be remembered as someone who followed their dreams, someone who dedicated their life to perfecting their craft, a GOD fearing man who tried to make a difference when and where he could within the community, and someone who tried to influence others to do better and be better than they thought possible. I would like to be an example for future generations to see what I've done, see my accomplishments, what I've tried to accomplish, take that, and bring it to the next level being an inspiration to others.
February is the month of Love. It is an opportunity to show how much we truly care for the people in our lives. Valentine’s Day cards are passed out, special dinners are planned and most notably, gifts are given to express how we care and love that special person. As with any relationship with a significant other, child or family member, we are accustomed to these traditions that we picked up while growing up. However, what if we continued this all year round and really figured out what really touches their heart? Wouldn't our loved ones feel more appreciated? Let’s just say it’s easier said than done. For this week’s blog, I wanted to share insight from an important book called "The Five Love Languages" by Dr. Gary Chapman. The book states that there are 5 ways people express love and that everyone may speaks it differently. “Your emotionallove language and the language of your spouse may be as different as Chinese and English.” The goal is discovering two primary ways that your one speaks and applying it into your relationships. If I knew about this book earlier on, it would have helped me understand more clearly how my loved ones expressed love. It could have saved lots of time and energy, arguments and provided a peaceful resolution to a situation.
The 5 Love Languages are as followed:
1) Words of Affirmation: Encouraging or kind words and affirmations
2) Quality time: Focused attention; quality conversations or activities done together
3) Receiving Gifts: Buying someone their favorite flowers; visual symbols like a piece of jewelry
4) Acts of Service: Washing dishes, helping out with chores around the house
5) Physical Touch: Holding hands, hugs, pat on the back
Dr. Chapman also suggests to find ways to fill up your significant other or family member’s “love tank”. To further clarify, what are ways to make them feel good inside, you know, “Pharrell happy-like?” (cue the song). This could include taking out the garbage, planning date night, bringing home flowers after a long week or simply letting him have the remote control for the night. Interestingly enough, after finding what my two primary love languages are (quality time and a tie between physical touch/words of affirmation), I started to contemplate on the ways loved ones showed me love and discovered the way they showed love was not always my primary love language. For example, receiving gifts. I realized that time well spent with family and friends was more important than any physical thing... and that’s just me. Keep in mind everyone is different but when you discover other people’s primary love languages, you learn tolove that person more effectively! In the end, you are filling up their “love tanks.” That my friends, is priceless!
Now that you know The 5 Love Languages, what are your two primary lovelanguages? I encourage you to think about it, share it with your loved ones and discover what their primary language is. You just might find yourself feeling more lovedthis Valentine’s Day, or better yet, all year long! To discover your love language, take a short quiz to find out what love language you speak by visiting http://www.5lovelanguages.com/
Wishing you lots of love this February!
If you like to snooze your alarm and skip breakfast for that extra half hour of sleep, then this overnight chia pudding could save your day. It can save your diet too! Chia seeds have a great nutritional profile. They are packed with nutrients that benefit your body and brain. It’s important to incorporate healthy ingredients into your daily diet because you’ll feel better and do better.
You don’t need to diet drastically to eat healthy. In fact, you shouldn’t. Start by setting easy goals for yourself like eating a fruit a day or not drinking soda, even the diet kind. For me, it’s hard to give up the food I love to eat and wanting to try new places. I practice moderation so I don’t beat myself up for eating what I want.
Homemade chia pudding has probably been my favorite thing to make last year. It’s so easy to make, nutritious, and filling. Plus, it looks cute in a mason jar! Feel free to be creative with chia pudding recipes. Here’s mine:
Combine chia seeds and protein powder into a container. I recommend using a mason jar since it’s the perfect size container when you’re on the go (when I have a skip breakfast kind of morning, I eat this chia pudding when I’m stuck in traffic driving to work or even just walking to the office). Pour liquid and mix all ingredients together, making sure there are no chia clumps. Place the lid and store it in the refrigerator overnight. As an option, I use granola as a topping so it contrasts with the pudding texture.
I’m glad I got to share one of my favorite (and easiest!) recipes with all of you. I encourage you all to make your own chia pudding recipe. No pots or pans required! Enjoy!
- Rochelle Ata
For food inspiration and foodie adventures, follow Rochelle on Instagram @ro.appetit
The hardest thing about goals is sticking to them.
How many of us commit to making a change or achieving something in life, fueled in that sweet moment of inspiration? We envision ourselves reaching that goal and we believe in our hearts we deserve it. Even just daydreaming about it can lift your mood! That's the beautiful thing about goal-setting - the act of envisioning it can start to germinate things into action. You take your baby steps and things are looking good. But then this dark cloud called "reality" settles in and all of a sudden your goal starts to feel more like a ludicrous dream. It's too big of a goal. How do you even get there? You don't have enough time, talent, or money. Ugghh... dreams are meant for other people who are either lucky or younger or smarter... not you.
How many of us think like this?!
Even if you don't necessarily dream B-I-G, we can all relate to the simple everyday goals of eating better, living healthier, or perhaps even getting more sleep at night. The the size of the goal isn't what stops us from achieving it. It's over-thinking that goal which makes us feel overwhelmed and at times defeated. For example, I love writing and I know I want to do it more often. For years, I have wanted to stay consistent in writing blog posts. Sounds simple enough, right? But every time I start thinking about writing, I panic about finding the time to actually write something well worth sharing. I worry if the content is irrelevant or too long or not long enough... this is all before I even write anything! I mentally overwhelm myself to the point of exhaustion. The death of a goal is not the size, it's feeling overwhelmed about it.
The next time you re-commit yourself to change, I want you to keep these 3 words in mind.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with a goal you really want to commit to, don't change the goal! Change the way you think about it. Forget about end results because new habits and skill sets do take some time to build. When you're low on motivation, don't ditch the practice. Ask yourself, "Can I just..." and finish it with a small demand. Something incremental that you can stick with even if you don't feel like doing anything. Let's pretend that you have to run 3 miles today but you have NO time, the baby is screaming, your boss is emailing you, your house is a mess, your shoes smells, and your cat ate your socks. Ask yourself, "Can I just run 1 mile?" Commit to doing that 1 teeny tiny mile and you will realize you didn't just run 1 teeny tiny mile, you overcame feeling overwhelmed! And that is what goals are made of.
I wish you all the best in your goals!
The start of the New Year is always exciting. A New Year means clean slates and the opportunity to create a new self. We set goals to improve ourselves or what we can do to look better so we can in turn, feel better. Gym membership signups sky rocket and restricted diets are put into place but over time, this drive somehow dwindles. We work harder at improving how we look on the outside, however what we should really focus on what is on the inside. With this, I mean your heart.
I am a firm believer that altering your lifestyle to develop healthy habits is truly important. Healthy forms of artistic outlets, great work outs (for me kickboxing, learning a dance routine or yoga stretching), good nutrition and surrounding yourself with good people all add to a healthy lifestyle, however, one healthy habit that I think most people don’t work hard enough in is their walk with faith. Whichever faith or higher being you believe in, this act of improving your relationship with God on a daily basis, helps maintain a healthy mind and grateful heart. This can be done in many ways; read more on your religion, get plugged into your church community, journal or meditate to name a few. I found that this helps you feel more secure with yourself and those around you will feel that love.
Focusing on your faith allows you to dedicate time to the One who answers your prayers, gives you clarity, makes miracles happen and gets you through the tough storms. I know I couldn't have persevered the struggles without the grace of God. There were times where I felt no one could understand my situation, but hearing the word of God and receiving the support of his followers, gave me the healing I needed. As a result, I am happier and stronger within and my situation has drastically improved because my deeper walk with faith. My intention is to help spread the good word of trying this healthy habit.
It is said the way you feel inward, shines outward. Here at Team Lotus, our mission to share what helps or inspires us to become better individuals. So I encourage to dedicate a little more time with your faith and see all the wonderful things unfold. Take the leap of faith into a better you in 2015!
I often put a lot of pressure on myself and when I’m overwhelmed, I feel numb to all sense experience. I even psych myself into thinking I’m behind schedule, but one day I decided to look at how far I’ve come as a person. The past year has been transformative for me and I can honestly say that Lotus has been the biggest contributor to my personal growth; a catalyst to my own self-discovery in aspects I forgot existed within my own being.
When I first worked with Lotus, it was simply a career-minded endeavor. I was still in school at FIDM SF and was hoping to gain experience with a fashion-based company. It’s been well over a year now and Lotus will always have my heart. Funny thing, though, is that our brand encompasses something beyond fashion. You can say our focus is on inner beauty and healing. We like to dive deep into an individual’s soul and lift them up to the light. The key thing we’ve all learned is that transformation starts from within ourselves. Lotus has shown me that in order to bring light into the world, I’d have to be the light myself (a topic I’ve touched base on in a previous blog post).
I’m going to be really transparent with you today and say that I am (have been?) coming out of the spiritual closet. HA! yes, it’s a funny way to say it, but it wasn’t until a year ago that I’ve truly taken a journey on the road to self-discovery, an exploration of my inner world. When I use the term “spiritual,” I’m referring to the individual soul each person on this planet holds in the vessels that we call our bodies. Seeing myself write this makes me want to admit how “weird” I am, but I’m learning to be open-minded and am slowly removing that word from my vocabulary for its derogatory essence. I don’t actually think I’m weird; I’m simply having a unique human experience. I’ve learned to respect my own passions and, in doing so, I’ve grown to love myself-flaws, cracks, scars, heartache and all. The first step in transforming the world is to first transform what’s inside of you.
So, back to my coming out of the spiritual closet… I believe that everyone has the right to know that they can heal themselves. I’ve been tossed around by life’s experiences, and I’ve been pulled in completely opposite directions in my career, but nothing would make me happier than to be a catalyst for another person’s healing and journey to self-realization. In September and October 2014, I was attuned to Reiki levels 1 & 2. For those who are unfamiliar with Reiki, it’s a Japanese hand-placement technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing (you may read more about it here). Since my attunement, I’ve become more aware of myself and toxic habits I may have developed. It’s a constant battle to maintain balance, but Reiki has helped me bridge the gaps between my body, mind and soul. Some key points about Reiki: anyone can learn and use Reiki on themselves and others, it can never cause harm, it is NOT a religion, and it is spiritually guided life energy (“spiritually guided” means that the energy will go where it is needed). There is no need to use your own energy or direction, meaning that you won’t feel drained or tired after a healing session. The energy comes from the universe and you are the vessel that it flows through.
Yup, I went there. This experience has been very personal and intimate to me, but what good comes from keeping it to myself? I’m not yet sure if I’ll create a side business by being a Reiki practitioner, but I feel it's the gateway to healing myself and others. I believe that when we help each other, we help ourselves. It’s rewarding to be in a position of having something worth sharing. I'm still learning and growing, but I'll say this time and time again: "when we rise, we rise together."
[***I’m simply an individual sharing my own journey. I’m not an expert and, no, I haven’t reached the peak of success. Will I ever though? Accomplishment after accomplishment, I'll see room for growth and I'll pursue it. Every experience is a bridge to the next journey, and I’ve been blessed with some really good ones. Thanks for reading! Sending light & love to you all. Have a blessed day.]
It's been a kazillion years since I last posted a blog entry. I like to read more than I like to write, but because our Founder at LPD believes that every voice should be heard, here's the beginning of my writing career. I'm hoping to spark minds and not put anyone to sleep.
Lotus is about making major moves this 2015, by being bold and living by example. We all have our individual passions in life. Aside from my business role (Co-Founder, Director of Sales), my passion lies in helping children. Being a mother myself, I only want my children to have a fair chance at living a beautiful life. Today's world almost seems hopeless, especially for children in our poorer neighborhoods whose parents have to work 2 or 3 jobs just to make ends meet and hardly find the time to talk to their kids. I'm lightweight guilty of being that type of parent, and it isn't easy for me to catch all the shows they watch and music they listen to. There's only so much you can control. I love music and understand it as an art form, but it's hard for me to explain to my 9 year old that being "in love with the coco" has nothing to do with cereal or why Usher feels that, "When you dance on a pole, it don't make you a hoe!"... But it is what it is. All we can do is tell our children the truth, that noteverything they listen to has a positive message. Yes, we live in a world that glorifies drugs and money, but there are also people that believe in changing the world for the better.
This year, one of our goals is to partner up with local artists, musicians and local brands/designers to have a fundraiser for charities that help children. I'll be scouting for singers, bands and talented MC's that talk about real issues on their lyrics (conscious rappers) and are active in their communities. We are writing letters to celebrities and other people of influence to ask them to join us and support this event as well. We have to take action and show our children that music is not only about expression, it's about inspiration!
2015 promises to be a transforming year. Stay tuned for more details on our Music for Charity event. If you'd like to get more info or are interested in collaborating with Lotus, please email me at email@example.com.
Let's make some noise this year and go out with a BOOM!
The beautiful honest truth
A couple of months have passed since we’ve actively posted anything on our newsletters and blogs. Truthfully, I was not prepared to explain my absence yet again. Physically, mentally, and spiritually I felt myself breaking inside, so I had to stop and observe what was repetitively happening within me. I considered writing a positive spin on Lotus making a comeback, but I’ve decided to be transparently honest with you. I am very grateful to tell you now that this last hiatus has changed me... permanently. I’m sharing my story because I hope it inspires a change for you as well in the coming new year.As above, so below
I want to pretend I’ve got it altogether, but I don’t. I want pretend that I’m not afraid of failing, but I am. It is so easy to get caught up in chasing material things and money or whatever else that’s external as attainment for happiness and success. Of course I want these things and I’ve been relentlessly chasing them too. Not enough time, money, or resources are the usual culprits of killing any dream or path to happiness. But I’ve witnessed others who had it all, and yet they lived miserable lives. I wanted to believe these external limitations were the reasons for my shortcomings, but I knew deep down they were not the root of my own suffering. I was aching somewhere else and that pain kept gnawing at me, until finally I fell into a deep immobile sadness. There was an emptiness I felt, and the search for my own salvation forced me to stop everything, including growing Lotus. Guilt, shame, stress, pity, exhaustion - you name it, I felt it. It numbed me to the point of isolation. Here I was, a girl who had BIG dreams of changing the world, yet I was unable of changing myself.
In one of our team meetings during the summer, it dawned on us that the purpose of Lotus’s existence was not simply for fashion. We wanted to exist beyond the product and fulfill something deeper. We wanted Lotus to inspire true beauty from within. We got so excited about this vision. This was our ‘Why’, our purpose, our mission. It became apparent to me that Lotus wasn’t just a denim brand to commodify; it was a way of life, an approach to living which we all had to stand by. We talk so much about inner beauty, liberation, and self-love, yet I myself was lacking these qualities. Where was my balance? How could we be preaching this to others if we were not living examples of it?
The void I felt came from a lack of faith in my own divinity. The fact that we are quicker to judge or condemn ourselves than we are to honor ourselves means there's a huge disconnect in our culture with respect to self-knowledge. Waiting around for proof of faith or an answer outside of myself led me nowhere. It took me this long to realize that faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof. For the past few weeks now, my team and I have been on a journey to liberate ourselves from conditioned expectations and focusing on building something substantial for our community. As we enter the new year, we are committed to changing ourselves from within. Before we can talk about that change, we are going to live it. Get ready for an exciting 2015. It’s going to be a bumpy and fun ride for us all.
Happy New Year and let's get bold!