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Collaborator Curated

Jerm is an artist/producer from Charlotte, NC, currently based in Los Angeles.

His music has been featured in Adidas stores throughout the country and featured in many reputable music magazines. Jerm released his single “Lie To Me (featuring Vivian)” back in October 2019 and has a new project in the works for 2020.


 

 Here is a list of his go-to products for emerging musicians:

 

1. FL Studio 20: FL Studio has been my go-to for music production and recording since I was in middle school. It’s amazing what you can do with this software if you really put the time and effort in to learn it.

2. Apollo Twin Audio Interface: You need a good audio interface to connect your headphones, speakers, and microphone with your computer. It helps you clearly hear what you produce and record into your software so that you can create better mixes and have an overall cleaner workflow. 

3. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones: Once you have your software and audio interface, you need a pair of quality studio headphones. These headphones help you hear a lot of the small details in a mix that is unnoticeable in regular headphones like AirPods. 

4. KRK Rokit Studio Monitor:  I’ve had the KRK Rokit 6’s (discontinued) for years now and they’ve been great for me. Nothing is better than bumping your music at high volumes and these have been perfect for that and hearing how things might sound in a car or venue.

5. Warm Audio WA-87 Condenser Microphone: Having a good microphone you can record with at home is very clutch. This is a solid mic for its price range and along with everything else listed, you should have no problem getting industry-standard recordings.

The mindset isn’t about seeking a result – It’s more about the process of getting to that result.

– Kobe Bryant

All photographs by Nick Rufo



Connect With Jerm!

Valerie is an elegant fashion designer bringing everyday looks right to your closet.

She has been designing clothes since she was 15 years old, even using her grandma’s 100-year old sewing machine at one point in time. Valerie then went on to create her own clothing brand Valsky, a brand that distributes unique & elegant designs to fashionable individuals.


 

 Here is a list of her go-to products as a fashion designer & entrepreneur:

 

1. Fashion Sketchbook: As a fashion designer, sketching your pieces is so important, it helps build a blueprint for when you go to the sewing process. I sketch my ideas on paper every day. This Fashion SketchBook has drawn out 9-head figures for you to draw your clothing ideas onto. It’s great for beginners.

2. Planner 2020-2021: There are 24 hours in a day. In those 24 hours, it’s important for me to write down all that needs to be accomplished. I write everything in my planner, from my to-do list to my ideas.

3. Brother XM2701 Lightweight Sewing Machine: I have gone through many sewing machines in my life. From my grandma’s 100-year-old sewing machine to the most expensive one in the store, and this Brothers sewing machine has been my favorite. It is affordable and easy to use for anyone. I sew all my clothing pieces with the Brothers Sewing Machine.

4. Beats Pill+ Portable Wireless Speaker: Sometimes, as a designer, I get creatives block. I have times where I don’t know what to create, which is very normal. Music has always inspired me to get my creative juices flowing. My perfect creative space is wherever my speaker is, blasting my favorite music artists.

5. Victsing 500ml Essential Oil Diffuser: Working in the fashion industry can be stressful at times. At the end of the day, I just want to lay down and rest. My aromatherapy diffuser has helped me relax my mind and be at peace. My favorite essential oil to use is peppermint.

“Those dreams and ideas that you have are meant to become a reality. Create your path and stay true to yourself while you’re on it.”

– Valerie Castro



Connect With Valerie!

Kesi is a professional traveler who quit her Wall Street job in NYC to backpack around the world.

She has been globetrotting for almost five years and has not stayed in the same place for over one month.  Kesi’s blog, Kesi To and Fro, focuses on traveling to less frequented destinations – like the Democratic Republic of Congo, how to have local experiences abroad – like meeting a couch surfer in Uganda and canoeing 4 hours to his village, and teaches how to sustain long term travel.


 

 Here is a list of items that she must travel with:

 

1. Osprey Sojourn Backpack: Osprey is THE backpack brand to take while traveling because all their bags are fantastic quality and provide comfort. The Sojourn is a flexible option, because not only is it a backpack, but you can also wheel it. This backpack gives you the best of both worlds – you can wear it as a backpack if you are on cobbled streets, or wheel it when you have smooth roads. Visit Kesi To and Fro’s website to read a complete guide to the best travel backpack with wheels.

2. Lifestraw: I do not like paying for water, so I always bring my own filtered water bottle I can drink free water around the world.

3. Scrubba Bag: I also like to save money on laundry, so the Scrubba bag is perfect to handwash clothes on the road.

4. Trtl Neck Pillow: This travel pillow will become your best friend. It provides more comfort than a U-shaped neck pillow and allows you to get great sleep on long bus rides or flights.

5. Packing Cubes: These cubes are essential to keep an organized backpack. Put pants in one cube, shirts in another, and underwear in the last!

“I do not live a life of luxury, but I live a life wealthy in experiences.” 

– Kesi Irvin



Connect With Kesi!

Danielle Johnson is a 30-year-old blogger from Los Angeles, CA that runs Danielle N The City and founded Glena Creative Marketing, a digital marketing agency.

She started Danielle N The City in 2013 as a hobby and it grew into a passion. Now 6 years later she has worked with some of her favorite brands such as MAC Cosmetics, Bravo TV, and more. Glena Creative specializes in web development and social media marketing.  She uses her knowledge as a blogger and influencer to get these great brands in front of their targeted audience.



Check out some of her favorite recommended products to use while blogging and working on her digital agency:

 

1. PopSockets: Collapsible Grip: I don’t know why I have lived so long without a popsocket. I use these as an easier way to hold my phone and also something to play with while thinking.

2. URPOWER Essential Oil Diffuser:  I love using lavender before I go to bed and peppermint and orange when I’m in my room working and reading for a boost. I love the color-changing light on this diffuser.

3. Lagunamoon Essential Oils Top 6 Gift Set: My favorites are lavender, peppermint and lemongrass.

4. GENERATION Z: The Sleeping Giant Awakens: Currently obsessed with not just because S.L is my client. This book is a MUST read for everyone in this current political climate.

5. HARDCOVER Bloom Daily Planner: The planner I use every day to plan EVERYTHING. I discovered Bloom Planners from Instagram and fell in love with their planners.

“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.” 

– Buddha

 



Connect With Danielle!

Kalena McElroy is a content marketer and travel blogger born & raised in Hawaii and currently based out of Los Angeles, California.

She has also lived in Barcelona, Spain where she began writing about her experiences as an expat living abroad. Kalena is the owner of travel and culture blog, Lost And Abroad. The website focuses on the importance of exploring the cultural and historical aspects of destinations such as the local art, traditions, food, and cultural differences that make each place unique.

Her passion for traveling is only rivaled by her love for nature and the outdoors. Kalena is an avid hiker, having walked the Camino de Santiago, Tour du Mont Blanc, and many other treks across the globe. She hopes her blog inspires people to step outside of their comfort zones and experience the way other cultures live and think, which are often different from our own.



Check out some of her favorite recommended products to use during her travels around the world:

 

1. Hydro Flask Water Bottle: I don’t go anywhere without a water bottle and I’ve been using Hydro Flask for years. Since it keeps drinks ice-cold for hours, it’s perfect for the beach, plane, or hike because let’s be honest, room temperature water on a hot day just doesn’t cut it.

2. Osprey Tempest 40L Women’s Backpack:  I spent months searching for the perfect backpack for my Camino de Santiago trek across Spain because I would be walking with all my possessions for six to eight hours a day. Though some reviewers mentioned that the waist straps were too short, this pack fit me perfectly and I still use it very frequently. It has held up well in a variety of climates from thru-hikes across the Swiss Alps and Banff National Park to day trips in Southern California deserts.

3. Rite in the Rain Spiral Notebook: These ultra-durable, all-weather notebooks may typically be used for fieldwork, but you never know when you’ll feel like journaling or be hit by a great idea. I carry Rite in the Rain notebooks whenever I know I’ll write an article so I can jot down details about my experience that I don’t want to forget. They’ve been with me all over the world and withstood the rain, mud, and saltwater.

4. Zinka 50 SPF Face Stick:  If I ever get asked to do a ‘10 things I can’t live without’ video, this little face stick will be high on my list. It’s the perfect size to throw into my backpack or purse and actually last pretty long for how small it is.

5. Kindle Paperwhite: I used to be pro paperback but the convenience, long battery life, and durability (it’s waterproof) of the Kindle Paperwhite changed my opinion. I do still love a traditional book though, just not for traveling. The e-reader is an absolute must-have for any bookworm who is frequently on the go. Instead of overpaying at the airport newsstand, sign up at your public library. Most libraries have an e-book database with thousands of bestsellers you can rent out during your trip for free.

“Aloha kekahi i kekahi.” 

This well-known Hawaiian proverb simply means to love one another. I think every single one of us could be a little more kind and caring towards others.

 



Connect With Kalena!

Makito is a portrait and lifestyle photographer based out of Los Angeles.

Although he is currently freelancing in the wedding industry, he has a strong passion for traveling and capturing beautiful scenery through his camera. Constantly inspired by the outdoors, Makito strives to express the raw emotions of his subjects in a natural setting. Makito has worked with various brands such as Otterbox, Bryan Anthonys, Tribe & True, Loaded Boards, Hotel Hafnia, Faris Car Rental, and more. He is currently working with Alabaster Company as a contributing landscape photographer for their upcoming books.

Makito’s interest in photography was ignited by all the conceptual images he saw while scrolling through Flickr. Captivated by how magical and otherworldly photos can provoke a sense of wonder and awe, Makito wanted to create that same feeling within the people who view his photos. He hopes to visually inspire people with his photos just like how conceptual photography inspired him to pursue a career in photography.



Check out some of his favorite recommended products to help any daring photographer in the field:

 

1. Photosol Sensor Swab ULTRA: It’s always important to take care of your photography gear. These sensor swabs are perfect for cleaning any dust or black spots that appear on the viewfinder of your camera when taking a photo.

2. TaoTronics Active Noise Cancelling Headphones: As a music lover, the sound experience is so crucial to me. When I bought these earphones, I was blown away by the sound quality. They also have a noise-canceling feature that is useful for when you want to drown out the outside noise and only hear the music. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants great quality earphones for an affordable price.

3. Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD: Every photographer should have an external hard drive. Whether you’re running low on space on your computer’s hard drive or you’re using it as a backup, this portable external hard drive by Seagate gets the job done.

4. MeFOTO Classic Aluminum Roadtrip Travel Tripod/Monopod Kit: I’ve gone through many tripods in the past, but this Aluminum Roadtrip tripod by MeFOTO is the best one that I’ve had so far. It’s made from high-quality materials, resulting in the perfect travel tripod that’s durable, light, and compact.

5. DJI Osmo Mobile 2 Handheld Smartphone Gimbal: If you want to start taking smooth and stable videos on your phone, then I highly recommend this gimbal from DJI. It’s affordable, lightweight, and has a ton of features to take your phone videography to the next level!

“Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.”

– Chuck Palahniuk 

 

I love this quote, because as we go through this journey called “life”, we take bits and pieces from the things that we learned over the years to make meaningful art. Even when we are trying to create something new, we are constantly inspired by the work of others.



Connect With Makito!

Joe Mikoli is a professional Graphic Designer and a published photographer from Los Angeles, CA.

Joe’s photo work has been featured in Muscle & Fitness UK, Oxygen magazine, PopSugar Fitness, and Today Show online. Throughout his creative career in the graphic arts, Joe collaborated with a multitude of renowned & lucrative brands, personal brands, including but not limited to Team EDGE & EDGE Supps, Body Ambition Fitness, America’s Next Great Trainer, Natalie Jill, Ingrid Romero, Obi Obadike, Phillips & Pelly, HitchFit, Fit Girl Wear, Extreme Results Fitness, Bootoga Worldwide, Fit Mom Diet, and more.

He has built up well over a decade of extensive hands-on experience, that is focused on the fitness, health & wellness, corporate industries, and small businesses.

As a talented creative, Joe has been interviewed by Voyage LA Magazine, alongside making an appearance on his first podcast, Veteran’s Brother last fall. With his knowledge, he has proven himself to be completely dedicated to working effortlessly in achieving all of his client’s needs. These accomplishments were possible because of his ability to combine his skills in leading-edge computer applications such as Adobe Creative Suite, with his knowledge of photography and graphic design. 

Inspired by all forms of photography, especially natural light, and the ever-growing graphic design field, Joe plans on continuing to hone his creative craft.



Check out some of his recommended products to help throughout a creative career:

 

1. Nikon D750 – Since 2015, this is the only DSLR Full Frame camera I still use to this very day. This is a beautiful camera with great low light capabilities and picture quality that still takes fabulous photos.

2. MagMod MagSphere – I have used most of the flash diffusion products and this is my favorite and gives me the best results. Produces great lighting and quality results.

3. MagMod MagBounce: I love this diffuser for groups of people and events, quick and easy to mount and remove, folds to fit in the camera bag. It provides excellent soft light from a portable quick-change system. Distributes more light more evenly than any other on-camera flash diffuser.

4. Westcott Ice Light 2: This continuous light is incredible. I use it mostly for a photo that casts terrifically soft and beautiful light for closeups. The best continuous portable light I’ve owned!

5. Flashpoint Evolv 200 Portable Flash Unit: Simply an amazing and useful piece of lighting equipment for my fitness and fashion photos. It’s great, small, and powerful.

“Those who use his services can rest assured knowing that his commitment to constant growth and a knack for thinking outside of the box, while crafting visually striking graphics for business branding, marketing purposes, and beyond, will meet each and every one of their goals.”

– Joe Mikoli 

 



Connect With Joe!

Lenny Vuitton is truly a dreamer; from inside his surreal conscious out fly creatures with three eyes and slimey noses turning into elaborate doodles and garments.

Lenny Vuitton takes a daring yet exciting approach in his mission to dismantle society’s expectations. A lifestyle brand that unifies art and fashion while drawing relations to every aspect of life; offering a variety of products from painted furniture and abstract sculptures to crazy swag. This cult-like lifestyle is truly a FUCK YOU to the standard fashion industry and in the bigger picture, society. Lenny Vuitton creates inspiration for those who want to escape reality.

Being a graffiti artist, Lenny is inspired by dismantling and recreating; taking common iconography and remixing it as his own. Something about doing what’s provocative or different is so enticing to people.



Check out some of his recommended products to help throughout uncanny fashion career:

 

1. VEVOR Flash Dryer: Screen Printing Equipment: Used to Heat Shirts and dry the plastisol paint used to screenprint on them. Needed to dry paint that I use, plastisol does not air dry.

2. Aluminum Screen Printing Frames: Used to hold the artwork/ designs that I used for my screen printed clothes and artwork, I also get custom screens made from ANTHEM SCREEN PRINTING. This cuts time and works on creating my screens when not able to burn my own screens.

3. Ecotex Red NP Plastisol Ink For Screen Printing: Used for screen printing, better than water-based paints, leaves a plastic texturization on the garments rather than seeping into the textile. Plastic like texture that sits on top of shirt/ vinyl-like.

4. Miniature Paint Brushes Detail Set: Used for painting on canvas and clothing, I tend to include a lot of small fine details in my work; so a small brush is essential. I like to create little things that may not be noticeable at first, then as time goes on the wearer or observer will notice more and more detail. Like a gift that doesn’t stop giving, there is always something new found in my work to entertain.

5. Montana BLACK 400ml Popular Colors Set of 12: Used to spray paint various mediums, clothes, canvas, walls, etcetera. Considering I destroy/dismantle anything in my reach with my creations, I use spray paint for pretty much anything.

“The rush feels when others are observing or gawking at you while being different is compelling.”

– John Lenahan

 

 



Connect With Lenny!

Dell is a director, editor, and videographer who goes by the alias @fakedell on Instagram. Currently working for the media group and record label at Mass Appeal, he continues to strive in all elements of media.

He has previously has worked for the Cleveland Browns/NFL and also Lavish Visions which is an advertising group that his friends and he started up in college. Mostly interested in shooting music-related fields, fashion, art, and sports are a major interest as well.

 



Check out some of his recommended products to help throughout a creative career:

 

1. Sony Alpha a7iii Mirrorless Digital Camera – This is the hottest affordable camera out right now, if you know what you’re doing and you have the money then I would highly advise going for this camera. It duals in video and photo well so if you like cameras, you can do the most with this one. Until the A7siii comes out of course.

2. DJI Ronin-S Essentials Kit 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer – If you need stable footage and something accessible, then this stabilizer will be your best bet. I personally use the Ronin-m but I think that this is much more useful in certain situations and half the price.

3. DJI Mavic 2 Pro Drone Quadcopter: Drones are always useful for videos because shots from above add endless opportunities and just another element that makes your visual more enjoyable. This drone right here is the best for the price.

4. Rokinon Cine DS Lens Kit: This is a great bundle on the lens. You get 4 prime lenses with a great range on aperture so you can shoot in low light. You might have to buy four lenses but the price per lens is unmatched and you can do a lot with this kit.

5. Apple MacBook Pro 15in Core i7 2.5GHz Retina: 16 GB of RAM and 512 gb of memory on a Macbook for less then $1500 is all you need for basic editing. Don’t bother getting the newer models with this deal on Amazon.

“Life’s short. So, let’s just do what we want. And if it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t, but we’re going to do it how we want to do it.”

– Cole Bennett

 



Connect With Dell!

Alana McKinney is a blogger and budding photographer born and raised just outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

She is the owner and principal blogger of SolelyLiving.com, an advice blog for other millennial women who feel lost at any given time on their journey through adulthood. She writes to share a candid, down-to-earth perspective on the adulting dilemmas of millennial women. (Because she knows what it’s like to have your expectations not match your reality.)

The blog represents the ambitious fempreneur, the over-stressed 9-5er, the exhausted parents who need a break, the adventurous travel babe, and every woman in between. Solely Living is taking the confusion out of growing up by helping women create the life they see in their dreams.



Keeping her schedule in order takes a lot of planning and preparation, so here are a few products she uses to make sure she never misses a thing:

 

1. Magnetic Dry Erase Calendar – I couldn’t function without first creating my calendar for the month. It’s too hard to book events without first knowing when/where else I have to be.

2. AmazonBasics Lightweight Tripod – I take photos almost everywhere I go and sometimes my cell phone won’t get the proper shot. Having this baby in my trunk along with my camera really is a lifesaver when I’m on a time crunch and can’t go back home.

3. Food Storage Containers: Since I’m always on-the-go and like to stay away from fast food, bringing food with me on the road is a must. I can easily pack up leftovers for the next day so I can just grab and go!

4. Journal for My Thoughts: Inspiration hits everywhere and sometimes I need to write it down versus type it in my phone so I keep a cute journal with me for motivation to be more intentional.

5. Envelope Laptop Bag: It’s super sleek and can hold all my essentials. If I’m going to be out for a while, I’ll bring this with my tablet so I don’t fall behind on work.

“The only moment that truly matters is the moment you decide to stop doubting yourself.”


I created this quote because it speaks true to my real life and, I think, so many others. We always dwell on the moments that didn’t work out or that turned out wrong, but the only moment that needs our attention is the moment we start believing in ourselves.



Connect With Alana!