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I recently read an article from the Huffington Post that really REALLY touched my heart. It put my self confidence issues and insecurities in perspective, big time. We live in a society that worships Snapchat filters and airbrushed "candid" selfies. Can't we all just go back to when the most treasured moments in our lives were captured with disposable cameras while half a cherry popsicle was dripping down our chin? 

I, for one, will admit that I definitely am not comfortable in my own skin and I haven't been since I entered middle school. But, losing weight or clearing up my skin isn't going to change that. I will always nitpick my appearance and I'm not okay with that. I'm finally owning my insecurities and turning them into positives. This article opened my eyes in a big way. We are so focused on our appearances. We judge everyone and everything, subconsciously even. But, the most awful and critical judge is ourself. 

We are so worried about how we look in pictures that we fail to remember what pictures and photography once meant to us. For me, photography began with my mom. She was always snapping pictures since I was a baby. There is probably only one or two minuscule moments that she failed to capture. Pictures to me meant scrapbooks and laughing over my missing front tooth. They meant our family welcoming my baby sister into the world. They meant commemorating every first day of school from daycare to college. Now, my pictures seem to get lost in the harsh words floating inside my head. Yes, there are things I'm confident about. But, the negative things have been overshadowing them lately. 

I talk about changing my bad habits to healthier ones, but those bad habits aren't solely what I put into my body (they're also what I put out into the world.)

A close friend of mine once said, "We are taught that being "healthy" is just about diet and exercise, but so often we neglect the spiritual and mental aspect of life."

Starting today, I am going say yes to pictures of myself. I'm saying yes to family photos. Yes to precious moments on film. I'm saying yes to remembering my life in all its wonderful beauty (and not just how I wish it would look.) I'm saying yes to accepting my flaws. 

My advice to you is: the sooner you realize that there is more to life than commercialized vanity, the sooner the happy confident voices in your head will out number the negative ones. 

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Things I am currently thankful for: Wednesday's unexpected 60 second rain shower, the consequential lower temperatures (aka 98 degrees because Texas Summers are no joke) as a result of said miracle, Trader Joe's Espresso Pillows (seriously go look them up because I am almost considering quitting coffee for these bad boys - key word: almost), being able to take today off from work, and that we finally made it to Frida[y] (you see what I did there? No? Okay, I guess I'll explain.)

Frida Kahlo is known for her colorful up-dos and bright ensembles, but more importantly (and why she has been my source for constant inspiration) she is known for her strong beliefs and courage. Her life was far from easy and you saw that in her art. You saw her passion, her fear, her pain. She painted what was in her heart, no matter what the current popular opinion forced upon not only the art world but her world. Frida broke boundaries and is the role model who will always be alive in my heart.

The weekend after Frida Kahlo's birthday, the Frida Festival Committee hosted Frida Siempre: Presenté (San Antonio's first annual festival honoring Frida Kahlo.) The event was sponsored by Bedoy's Bakery, The Brick Marketplace, Cha Cha's Restaurant and Michelle's Patisserie. The festival was held on Saturday, July 9th at the Brick Marketplace at Bluestar (in Southtown). I had high expectations for this event and let me tell you they were more than met. This event combined the love, admiration, and respect for Frida that lives in not only the hearts of Frida's supporters throughout history but also in the vast San Antonio community who were in attendance. Honoring her incredible spirit, the festival showcased a salon-style art gallery, a handmade mercado (market), fashion, music, performances and culinary traditions (basically everyone in attendance was in awe of this experience.)

In addition to the actual festival being such an amazing success, the turn out was unbelievable. The amount of people who attended was so surprising, especially considering how minimal the advertising for this event was. To be quite honest, the space was a bit cramped for the amount of people, but when you are sharing your love for Frida the close quarters aren't what matters (fyi: the committee has promised a larger venue space for next year's festival.) At the end of the day, I would like to send a huge thanks to the Frida Festival Committee (Lady Base Gallery, Las Ofrendas, Que Retro Arts & Viva Vegeria) for coordinating this beautiful celebration. I can only imagine what they will come up with for next year's festivities.

After leaving Southtown with full hearts and thoughts of flower crowns dancing in our heads, the Friendship Festival and Street Dance was calling our names.

As soon as I had heard that Piñata Protest would be performing at this festival it made it into my handwritten calendar (that's how you know things are really serious.) If you are from San Antonio or have lived here long enough, you are probably familiar with Piñata Protest. There's just something in the spirit of this band, no matter if you're a die-hard fan or just enjoying the music, they have a way of not only connecting with the audience but also effortlessly connecting their audience with the music. Needless to say this band was the perfect headliner for Inner City Development's festival.

Alvaro Del Norte, the lead singer, could be found, before their performance, grabbing a drink at the beer garden and chatting with neighbors and fans over Frito Pies and turkey legs. Meanwhile, festival-goers flocked to the stage to grab their spot for the show.

Before introducing Patti Radle, co-founder of Inner City Development, Alvaro told his fans how much it meant to him to perform for this organization. He explained how Inner City Development had helped him and his band over the years (as he waved to his parents who had drove down from Dallas in the back of the audience.)

Patti took the stage to say a few words of thanks and appreciation before Piñata Protest entranced the crowd with their dance moves and unique Punk lyrics (enticing fans to start a mosh pit that eventually turned into cumbia dancing.)

Days like these are definitely on my never-ending thankful lists. I'm thankful for music, and food, and art, and the San Antonio community I call home.

If Frida Kahlo and Piñata Protest aren't the epitome of San Antonio culture, I honestly don't know what is.

{What are some of your favorite local events where you live?}

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