Seven Magic Mountain, near Las Vegas.  Photos taken on Google Pixel 2

Seven Magic Mountain, near Las Vegas. Photos taken on Google Pixel 2

welcome

to the colorful journal of Marissa Berrini, creative director, traveler, artist, and curator living in Los Angeles. Launched back in 2010, as Bourbon and Goose, Marissa's blog serves to be an inspiration for those times we’re stuck in a rut and help expand our community to dive deeper beyond the eye candy and more into the soul all while discovering self-worth, love, being present in the moment and creating the life you were meant to live.

Love Letters the Universe 03

Love Letters the Universe 03

A new week means new lessons to be learned. This last week was no exception. I found myself drifting away from my daily practices and getting caught up in what the future holds. I didn't realize how much of this I was doing until this year's exercise of presence. Is this what everyone is suffering from? Being part of the rat race isn't something I signed up for. More like inherited from society's programming of "you have to be this to be that" or "you have to do this to be that." Ugh, just typing that out makes me exhausted. At this point, fuck it. I don't want to do any of this, that or the other. I just want to do what lights me up. If that means I'm the opposite of what you had in mind for my future, well, that's on you. My prerogative is I'm going to do me, and you can do you. It's not worth getting caught up into someone else's dream. Now that I've written this, documenting the last week was more challenging than expected. I lost interest in sharing what my thoughts were because it felt trivial. To be honest, I got ahead of myself and caught a case of, well it has to be this so it can be that BS. Didn't I say in the beginning this would be a personal experiment? So far I feel that I'm failing me because it's only week three and I'm already feeling pressured to "perform." BLAH. I have enough performances I agreed on in my daily life. This experiment was and IS supposed to be full of curiosity. Discovering the love in life. Not about being PC. Not about being discrete because it might be offensive. This is my space for my creativity, accountability for pulling the thread on love and presence in my OWN life. Not yours. Mine. So with that random note to self, let's kick off week 3 of love letters to the Universe. After this, I'll be doing things my own way again. Not following a format because everyone needs it a certain way to sign off on it. No offense intended.

January / Day 14 / Monday
Woke up to the sound of rain. Love + presence achieved upon waking up. Now that's how I'd like every Monday morning to be. The pitter-patter of rain fresh to the ears. It was so poetic and beautiful. Plus it brought the most beautiful natural light, perfect for a day of photography. Luckily for me, that worked in my favor as I had a couple of photo projects I needed to do for my 9 to 5. As I began to set up my working station, I found myself in the zone. Feeling at ease, getting into a rhythm for creating. This was a feeling I haven't felt in a while. Don't get me wrong, my job consists of being creative on the daily, but this was different. I hadn't done a stylized photo shoot in a while and to be honest, the apprehension I had the day before was not fun. I tend to stress out tremendously before any photography work. Like hardcore anxiety, mood swings, and all around toddler-like freakout. Not my best side but it comes from the insecurity that I'm not a "professional" photographer. I didn't go to school for photography. I taught myself through trial and error. Oh, and lots of videos, blogs, and classes. At this point in my late 30s, I would have thought as a kid, I would be fearless. Maybe it's from society's programming that getting older doesn't mean a positive growth. Thankfully I do not subscribe to society's bullshit, so I tend to challenge it by putting myself in new challenges so, in 2013, I became a visual content maker, aka photographer. Now it's a valuable tool for my toolkit for creative direction. I've always worked with photographers and completely respect their craft. Even more so when I jumped behind the lens of the camera myself. It's not an easy profession. Lots of hard work, physically, mentally and emotionally. It's the main reason why I consider it more of a side hustle now than proclaiming myself an actual professional. Wow, I totally went on a tangent there, but I thought it was important to give you some backstory on my insecurity with photography. In case you too might have some insecurities about your talents. Moving forward, earlier that day, Sam was sent home sick from work, so my service of love was to attend to him and make sure he was ok. It's not fun when your partner is sick, especially if you're the one who gave it to him. So I had to do him a solid and have his back. Once round one of the work I had to complete was done, it was hanging out by each other's sides, staying warm with the fur kids.

Red Rose shot on portrait mode.  Photos taken on Google Pixel 3

Red Rose shot on portrait mode. Photos taken on Google Pixel 3

Day 15 / Tuesday
Tuesday the rain was still coming down, but I decided it was best to get into the office ASAP. Partly because Sam needed to rest without me checking in on him every second and, I also enjoy working onsite with my team. On my way to the car, I noticed a beautiful red rose that was the ONLY rose left standing after the rain. I was so curious why this rose was untouched after 2 days of rain. As I crouched down, I noticed a group of small leaves right above the bud. These tiny leaves were helping to shield the flower from the water droplets. I couldn't believe it. I had to look again around the yard. Yup, this bud was the only one left standing, and the other rose bushes on each side were taken out. What was left of them were poor little piles of petals as evidence there once bloomed pink beauties. It got me thinking about how important those tiny leaves were–as if they were of service to the flower they were protecting below them. This visual sparked more exploration into the thought: how can one be of assistance to others? As well as, the love of service as a general theme in your life. Since working on our backyard in October, there have been numerous lessons of love. From tending to the grounds, watching the yard open up to more birds, bees, butterflies, and insects. As a way of letting us know our service to the property, were acknowledge by Gaia, herself. Now what if we can have a partnership, relationships and daily exchanges of love like this flower, wouldn't that be the real act of living? This plant was witness to that concept and on that note presence + love witnessed.

Farmers Market on portrait mode.  Photos taken on Google Pixel 3

Farmers Market on portrait mode. Photos taken on Google Pixel 3

Day 16 / Wednesday
More rain. At this point, I was getting a little stir crazy. I like the sun way too much, and my body was craving it. Again, blaming my desert roots here. As I got into my morning ritual of preparing my nettle tea and opening up the house to the morning sun, I recognized what a gift the rain was giving to LA. Calling our water issue a "drought" is kind of an understatement in regards to how depleted California water supply really is. The rain was causing chaos with mudslides in the canyons, but it also brought with it future gifts of flowers, vegetation, renewal, and growth. Once I got over my "all about me" vibe, I headed to the flower market in DTLA. I still had part two of my photography work that had to get done.

Heading to DTLA is always an experience, especially since it was lightly raining. If you know LA a single drop of rain can cause chaos on the roads. Moments later I was at one of my favorite treasures in Los Angeles and basically had the place to myself since the rain had everyone indoors. The peonies were popping and reasonably priced. So naturally, they had to be included. Next up was different greens like eucalyptus in three different types. Last but not least, tiny roses in pink and bright orange. Le sigh...the colors! :)

After was a quick detour to grab lunch to go at my favorite spot: Kitchen Mouse. Yes, I probably go there way too much but it's fantastic so I'll continue to show up at KM until I've made myself sick with chilaquiles. Haha. The vanilla chai latte warmed my bones, and I was back in effect for a day of photography. Once home, I got back into the zone and diligently worked for hours. The time came and went, but I was too lost in the flow to care. Now if only all days could be so smooth when it comes to my camera and me. After I enjoyed a bath ritual filled with Epsom salts, sage oil, amethyst and carnelian crystals. Thank you Mama Medicine for that prescription. Self-love achieved for my aching back from the day of being in the zone.

Erewhon Santa Monica.  Photos taken on Google Pixel 3

Erewhon Santa Monica. Photos taken on Google Pixel 3

Day 17 / Thursday
Back to the office and this time I didn't get far before I was stuck behind the Recycle truck making its rounds in our neighborhood. There was no way around this massive beast of a truck that was really putting me behind schedule. Next thing I know some hot dog, aka crazy driver, was trying to squeeze by the mammoth and almost took me out as well. Let's just say, profanity was exchanged but being nudge back into the present moment was accomplished. Thursday's rain was no joke. It started and stopped, and then BOOM downpour. This particular ride into the office meant all hands on deck and being the best defensive driver possible. It was the final act before the rain decided to move on from Los Angeles. Talk about full drama-rama. At least once I was at the office, it was eerie quiet. To get some creative juices flowing, my teammate and I ran to Erewhon for lunch and then to the retail store in Brentwood for a quick product shoot for social. Oh, before I got there, while at Erewhon I saw the most cuddly, poofy, blonde dog ever. This dog had such a personality. As if he was Frasier Crane but also part cotton ball if that's possible to envision. I didn't think it could get any better, but a minute later, an even BIGGER dog came up into the mix. He was another cuddly poof ball, but this time the pup's fur was chocolate brown, almost black with a tuxedo shirt (white patches on the chest) and white sock-like paws. I almost fell over from a gush of love. I couldn't stop laughing. This 3-minute exchange with the shaggiest dogs ever made my day. PS: In case you didn't gather it already, I love animals.

Day 18 / Friday
Oh Friday, I love you. It's where you just breathe easier knowing that the weekend is here. It was an interesting day of work. Just same old song and dance but with a spring in the step because the rain was gone. Once the work day was over, Sam and I were graced by our good friend visiting from China. We hadn't had a chance to say a proper goodbye before, so it was so good to see him in person. I couldn't stay long to hang with the guys. I had a hot date with some special ladies. Cue my favorite witches. A soul sister was having a birthday, and we went out for a night on the town to celebrate her. Now when I tell you this woman is unique, she is. She's the sweetest soul, works incredibly hard and truly cares about this planet. Such an expander for strength and I am so grateful to say that I know her. The night at Crossroads was filled with laughter and fun. We dine on vegan oysters and other plant-based delights. After we cruised into Hollywood to catch up on girl talk and remind each other we have work to do. Self-work that is. As I sat there in my friend's new car that she manifested because she really did, I thought to myself, for all the friendships I've lost in the past 6 months, I sure did gain a group of women that allow me to be me and in turn, celebrate that fact. I am so incredibly lucky. Thank you, Universe.

Vegan pupusas from Los Salviganos.  Photos taken on Google Pixel 3

Vegan pupusas from Los Salviganos. Photos taken on Google Pixel 3

Day 19 / Saturday
Woke up with BIG plans but instead, I stayed home and relaxed with Buju, Willie Nelson, Kukui and Sam. The weather was too perfect to get in the car. Plus a new vegan market, Besties Vegan Paradise, opened in our neighborhood a couple weeks ago and I've been dying to check it out. Added bonus: on Saturdays, they invite plant-based food vendors to come to showcase their talents. Somehow I convinced Sam to adventure out with me. Probably because he loves Mestizo Coffee Shop and wanted his epic protein smoothie. Don't worry, it's vegan. We walked to the market, and it was poppin'. We're talkin' Vegan Hooligans and Los Salviganos. Needless to say, I ate at both vendors. A vegan Philly cheesesteak that was absolutely AMAZING and pupusas that were out of this world. While sitting there enjoying the food and meeting the community, I had an eye-opening conversation with a woman that moved to LA recently because of her and her son's passion for animals and activism to protect them. As a huge animal advocate, who recently went vegan after years of debating it, I realized my definition of "huge" wasn't that big when I compared it to this woman and son's commitment to drastically uproot their lives to be a part of something bigger than themselves. This was truly big for me. Something I am still processing as they also invited me to attend a vigil where you provide water to pigs that are being trucked into the slaughter house downtown. It's something that most people will want to pretend they didn't read here, but the truth is, cruelty is being done so humanity can have a product that they don't question where it comes from and how it got to their plates. As Moby put it, you aren't horrified by the images of animals suffering, you are horrified by animals suffering. It's true, and I encourage to start small and discover ways you can cut back on consumption of animal products. It took me a couple years to make the full transition because I had to replace my old ways of thinking, learn new habits, and be openminded to discovering a new way of living.

Later Saturday continued with visits from friends. The guys played a trifecta of games including Pass the Pigs, ping pong and chess. For me, I participated here and there but overall got some time to relax, study Human Design and meditate. My favorite past times lately.

Day 20 / Sunday / Super Blood Moon + Lunar Eclipse
Sunday I was back on the road and this time headed to Kitchen Mouse for an insane solo brunch with one side of Snickerdoodle pancake (vegan) AND a celeb sighting of Tobey Maguire. Thoughts upon seeing him: Meh. Also, I was missing my brunch buddy. Solo brunch wasn't as fun without her. Who else could I dish with about Tobey Maguire? :P

Artemisia Nursery in Los Angele, taken in portrait mode.  Photos taken on Google Pixel 3

Artemisia Nursery in Los Angele, taken in portrait mode. Photos taken on Google Pixel 3

After KM, I headed to Artemisia Nursery to see Nicole, the brilliant soul that has been helping me landscape the front and backyards at Casa Berrini. She's absolutely a joy to be around. Sadly, I missed her, but I did score some fabulous cacti for the backyard. One looks like a Pokemon! Little joys of love found.

Once back at the house, I set aside some time for a ritual that consisted of LBRP, the 5 principles of Reiki and some oracle work with Alana Fairchild's Kuan Yin + Earth Warrior Decks. Highly recommend if you don't have them. It was a day of magic. I was grateful to have space to honor this magical day.

A real highlight was my meditations. I had time to dive in deep which also allowed for the pets to join in. They can sense when I'm getting ready to meditate and come running in to participate. It's so , and a sacred time I wouldn't trade for anything in the world!

Last but not least, Sam and I sat outside to have some TLC time with each other and also to bear witness to the Super Blood Wolf Moon. It was peaceful and quiet, even in the heart of the City of Angeles or maybe our selective hearing was just on. But while sitting there with Sam in our backyard, looking up at a clear sky (another gift from the rain days prior), I counted my blessing over and over. The love I have for the gifts that I usually would have overlooked due to being caught up in future tripping was finally pouring out of me. Happiness doesn't have to be defined by society's "norms." Instead, create your own dream because from where I was sitting, it's completely worth it.

Oh, and if you have time check out Kaypacha's latest video. Probably one of my favorite videos from him so far, due to him being authentically himself. Trust me, it's a must watch.

My feelings help me stay in touch,
With my deepest inner truth,
Like a steamy sauna or soothing bath,
They cleanse, relax, and renew.
–Kaypacha, New Paradigm Astrology

All photos taken on Google Pixel 3

Love Letters the Universe 04

Love Letters the Universe 04

Love Letters to the Universe 02

Love Letters to the Universe 02