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Life & Love

Insecurities Nest

Cindy Mancebo

A well composed piece possesses great power over perception. Edited and polished, anything from words to photos can be positioned to replace reality but only for a short time. It is what PR professions are made of, what culture is composed of and what our hearts have all too often bought into. 

After a weekend of styled shoots, I took some time to review photos in effort to narrow down shots for a post. Scouring numerous times through the batch I found that every round uncovered a new layer of images flawed. Unseen by most and yet blazingly evident to me. The process of it was a reminder of how big a critic one can be of them self. It is the pursuit to preserve pride, one that emphatically proclaims - before anyone is to break me, I'll break myself first, before anyone drives the dagger through my soul, I - will give myself the fatal blow. So in pride's honor, where some find fashion inspiration in my personal style, I see a girl far from the bar of established and acclaimed fashionistas. Where others find beauty, I see inches of unwanted weight, blemished skin, uncooperative hair, beauty lacking and a list of insecurities that diligently wait at my bedside, greeting me every morning with much embrace. These thoughts are constant, relentless, nagging long enough to tear down the most secure walls of perceived confidence. How grave these accusations can be! Like a sea in the eye of a storm, overwhelming the soul down to its core. It was then that something in me snapped. Either I choose to swim with the current and ride culture's wave of a polished brand or fight against, rising to the occasion of exposing the truth and beauty of a flawed nature, brokenness in its many forms. 

I don't know who reads this blog. Statistics will never reveal faces, names, personalities and/or struggles. As far as I know you are but a number based on the analytics. But I know wherever you are, who ever you are, this message was intended for you. For you, I will choose to be unedited, unpolished and bare in these pages. Honest and open in my journey with hopes that you too can find beauty and voice against what culture and perfection demand. I too carry insecurities just as you do, do not be fooled, nor do I intend to fool you. On the contrary, here I fight against them, with every post published. That in documenting this journey I may look back on every single one of these pages as a mere reader, fall in love all over again, applying messages to my life that were originally granted to me to share.

Thank you, who ever you are.   

UN-Follow of The Heart

Cindy Mancebo

The heart, though sensible at times can often play the role of evil. Latching itself to stages and stories, both real and imagined, comforts, dreams and unattainable fairytales sold by the plots that once wooed our hearts as children. At times passionate, at times destructive, fiercely pursuing the poisons that we've freely accepted and embraced at the cost of our souls. Unfollow the heart for it is but a child, insisting on its selfish and blind cause one tantrum at a time. Unfollow the heart for it has no remedy outside of the workings of its chief mechanic, needing replacement rather than mending as we so often pray and wish for. Unfollow the heart for its paths are often darkened by impulsive behaviors, short sightedness, and lack of vision. Unfollow the heart unless it is broken, for brokenness dents irrationality and jars reality back into scope.

I followed my heart once, twice, three too many times - I'm sure you have too. And though the lessons accompanied by its many heartbreaks are ones I do not regret experiencing, the  hardest lesson of them all was the one that taught me to abandon its voice and allow for its replacement. 

Dare To Dream, Again

Cindy Mancebo

At the age of 22 the years of homework assignments, late night cramming sessions and tears shed over much despised calculus courses had come to an end. At last, I was an official college graduate. Armed with a bachelors degree in hand, I'd convinced myself that I was ready to take on the world having all but a clue of what it meant to put dreams to action. No less than two months later, after walking down the boastful aisle was I laid off from a part time job I absolutely hated but was regrettably paying the bills at the time. As I sobered up from an ironic meltdown consisting in tears of joy, sadness and fear, I began to realize, it was the opportunity of a lifetime. A chance to pursue a career to enjoy, than a job to miserably slave in. Fortunate for me I was introduced to an internship opportunity that set the pace for the following years to come. From cheerful unpaid internship season to seasons of desperation, I scored a part time position after a year and a half with the company, one that eventually led to a full time role within corporate, a process that took nearly 3 years.

Having had many aspirations for the future after graduation, the years of uncertainty that followed certainly had their effect on my confidence. If you're at all familiar with the job hunting process you would know it sucks. It's grueling, pride sucking, inflicting such a number on your hope ability that lays dreams to rest almost permanently. By the time you've reached an open door the opportunity presented is more than you could've asked for after years of unanswered emails & job queries. It is then that complacency and comfort looms over reality, opposing themselves to the dreams you once so delicately nurtured. It breaks you. Mistaking disappointment for the end, I buckled under pressure and ceased to dream of the future for it proved uncertain, uncontrollable, and worst of all, unattainable. Dreaming was child's play and settling for safe was better than enduring another beating. But what brokenness fails to reveal at its arrival is its intent to break barriers. It wasn't until recent conversation when prompted about my visions for the future that I was jolted to see my slump from an outside perspective.

Disappointment had its purpose; removing threads on the heart's safety net, tearing down roads of self reliance, leaving the soul striped like a blank canvas before its artist. The process refined such character in me that would otherwise never be carved in a state of dreams alone. In no way was I asked to abandon ship, though the circumstances at the time would've implied so. I was called to stand firm, to hope, to pray more than ever and above all persevere, for the end result would prove much greater than I could ever imagine. Today, I dare to dream again, and boldly. Not easy by any means, it takes discipline that I have yet to grasp, courage that I must learn to assume, and a daily decision to die to myself that is beyond human capacity but made possible through the love of One.

Dare to dream again, I dare you.

 

NYC to Philly

Cindy Mancebo

"Come down in 3" read the text as I waited for his arrival. Having only but a white jean stipulation and a 7:30 AM call time, the day was bound for an adventure, one he so cleverly kept under wraps for days. I set my sight to the street side from where he typically strolls to meet me, yet minutes had passed and there was no sign of him. Suddenly, like a chariot on wheels he arrived, surprising me with a road trip to Philadelphia for our one year anniversary. 

It was a celebration of firsts as we welcomed the second year with the first road trip to highlight our timelines. Far beyond the most evident causes for excitement, one first was clear for both of us, this trip would define forms of communication in ways we'd never experienced before. With beau behind the wheel, I was directing navigation and if there was ever a time to be more in sync, it was now. He needed me just as much as I needed him and not in a culturally unhealthy context. More than an escape from the NYC norm, it was an opportunity to venture outside of the realms of personal comfort. It was imperative that I become ever more sensitive to the state of another, insuring his ease over my own and without demands of reciprocity, knowing the same would be done onto me through the greater love that sustains and guides our existence. 

Regrettably, I don't drive - I don't even have a permit but surely enough the roles assigned were of no coincidence. They reveal areas in which God currently dabbles his healing touch, allowing each scenario to place emphasis on strengths and clarity over weaknesses, the facets of my acclaimed laxed persona were magnified. Though often serving as comfort to most, it bears much disdain for pressure. Under such state I am frazzled, shaken, impatient and hot tempered, here, change is not welcomed. But when there's no room for selfish inclination, a part of you is forced to relent, bearing life only to a willingness to sacrifice. Beyond the cheesesteaks, the memories, the unforgettable laughs, this day I will commemorate for the beautiful moments in which self came to die. I would do it hundred times over just to see that cross as clear as I did on this day. May year one be the first of many more to come. 


Take The Bench

Cindy Mancebo

I've never played a single sport in my entire life. As a matter of fact the only relationship I've ever held with sports were the injuries suffered while pacing along the side lines as I practiced dodging techniques for the sake of impressing crushes. And though far from an athlete, my competitive spirit has always made an appearance in the arena of the arts; music, fashion & design. Whether there's an event, photoshoot, project or the casual hangout, know that deep inside lies a prideful mini me with arms crossed saying "You Got Served". As embarrassing as that is to admit, I am a work in progress. But the interesting correlation between sports and life is one that sees no barrier in sports fans, resentful spectators nor innocent by standers. No experience can be more despairing and simultaneously humbling as the moment when you are benched. The anticipation of watching other players take the court by storm is nerve wrecking, it provokes anger and anxiety but after the rapid fire of emotions settle, there is something beautiful to take from being benched. From that bench, you are the audience instead of the player, the student instead of the teacher, the son or daughter instead of the parent. Long before you realized it, the bench was just what you needed to recharge, re-strategize, and renew. For once, being the spectator grants you access to the outer scope, allowing you to learn from the journey of those seizing the arena. 

I've been benched, all too many times. It is evident in months of dead blog air, evident in disappointments passed, evident in the struggle to dream after life's hurdles break the spirit. But for every season that I am forced to sit through the game, there is opportunity to step onto the court yet again, as a better player. Though pride will argue and insist it a loss, bury me in accusations for failing yet again, at the heart's core I know the bench was just what I prayed for. If you've been benched, take a seat, and take notes. When you're done fighting it, find where to grow from it.

Coasting

Cindy Mancebo

Before our snowy brunch at Sweet Chick I surprised him with an unexpected twist in plans and made a stop at Make Meaning, a crafts spot where you can paint and create ceramics, canvases and even cakes. At first glance the shop seems more like a crafts version of a kid's Discovery Zone, with screaming children and parents surrounding the entry way but I promise you, normal adults without children go here (I looked it up!). I'll admit, the overwhelming amount of kids provoked some hesitation in my decision. Couldn't help but think, was it too much for a grown man to do crafts? I certainly didn't think so but if there was any lingering 'too cool for school' attitude in this boy's heart I was going to need a drink and fast, cause the nerves were real. 

Having decided to create a coaster we sorted through the glass pieces in efforts to put together a design that would best represent both our styles. For a moment I sat back and watched as he grew intense and intentional with his choices, wearing gloves too small for lumber jack hands and a beard too strong for an ax to break. I was enamored by the concentration. If he wasn't enjoying the date, he was certainly making efforts to make this coaster something amazing, subconsciously taking a back seat on design I observed his choices. Often comparing his to mine, I took notes on the differences in our aesthetics and sought to gain more understanding of his choices without requiring much words, just action. The simple thought of this coaster creation signifying more than a piece of glass blew me into a mental trance that kept me from diving into the process as more than a helper. Far from imprisonment, it was liberating to watch him take the lead. But with the existing doubt looming over my mind throughout the progression of the date, I ventured off for mental distraction and began piecing a whole new concept of colors to which he immediately questioned the intention. Though I couldn't see it then, his call for my intentions were beyond necessary. For a moment I had lost sight of the memory we were creating right then and there, together, with this simple coaster. The question was thought provoking, triggering behavioral, spiritual and emotional reflection. With so many years spent in self consumption and broken relationships the experiences had resulted in bad habits with tendencies to shut down and hide away in moments of inner panic but with a simple question or call for attention you are jarred out of the world where only you seem to exist. Inviting you to the meaning of coexistence, allowing another to shed light in the dungeons of the heart where no man has ever ventured before. And like that, a coaster was made, memories created and in all but a few seconds, life changed in the slightest matter.

Beyond scoring some major cool points on this day (which I did suckers!), piecing jagged glass edges and broken pieces onto a then blank canvas was an implication of the very fabric of our lives, knitted together by individual experience. We're all broken and somewhat jaded but never far from being made into a new and more wonderful piece of art.

The coaster turned out different than expected, looking like pieces of gum jammed between two melting sheets of glass but it was exactly what it needed to be, abstract, somewhat undone and yet beautifully done. Grown man doing crafts never made a girl so smitten.

Vacancy

Cindy Mancebo

If fashion draws your heart near then you are certainly familiar with the ever so popular E! network roast Fashion Police formerly led by the late Joan Rivers and now hosted by Kelly Osbourne, Giuliana Rancic, newcomers Brad Goreski and Kathy Griffin.  In recent controversy, Rancic was called out for making racist remarks during an Oscars fashion review, in which she commented on Zendaya Coleman's dreaded hair do stating

"I feel that she smells like patchouli oil...or weed. Yeah, maybe weed".

Zendaya maintaining poise, respectfully responded in a Twitter post in which she basically stripped the remark of its laughs and drew the attention onto the underlying stereotype that was clearly at play in its original remark. The interesting part of the argument is that Rancic immediately replied with an apology stating

"I'm sorry I offended you and others. I was referring to a bohemian chic look. Had NOTHING to do with race and NEVER would!!!" 

A remark that certainly has speculating audiences buzzing on social networks and across articles. What's particularly striking about the response was not so much a lack of apathy in Rancic's reply but rather the ignorance that still lingered, one I call the sorry I'm not sorry response. And all too often in our culture we engage in conflicts and conversations to which we hold opposing views - nothing wrong with a little disagreement but it is the level of desensitization that abides in us all, having a severe lack of sensitivity to another's offense and often responding with phrases like "I'm sorry you feel that way but..". A phrase that often infuriates my core being. I'd rather not receive an apology than one of half hearted posture. Either you believe and acknowledge the offense or hold fast to your stance and let us agree to disagree.

Racism has been an obvious hot button issue within our culture and more so in recent months, it is one I do not actively engage in in conversation as often as I should for the sake of hearing all voices but in this case it is obvious our culture has placed a band aid on human interaction. Opting for common courtesies like 'good morning' 'thank you' 'how are yous' and never placing burden on those conversational forms. Maybe if we learned to engage with one another in meaningful, true conversations we could avoid conflicts swept under a rug that leave room for grudges, ignorance unchallenged and hate festering over the wounds of our hearts. With this I leave you, the argument here is not so much a dive into the issues of Rancic and Zendaya but from its basis an effort to shed light on the areas of our hearts and unconscious minds that have been deteriorated by second nature habits requiring little to no thought on quality, genuineness or honesty. 

05:00

Cindy Mancebo

As the sun sets over the horizon, peaking over the hills of Jersey, splattering rays over the clouds that hang above, I come alive at 5. Never in an anxious wait, my soul just seems to naturally awaken at its appearance. You can call me a sunset chaser but it wouldn't suffice, or maybe a nature beaver but I'm far from the like. More than observing its beauty for what it is, I wait to see its maker. For every day that sets, the art is unique, 365 paintings for 365 days. Splashing colors throughout the scape of the sky for a mere few minutes to enjoy.

In recent months I've been reading a book called Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge, describing the beautiful design and purpose of women. Highlighting one key point in the latest chapter of my reads, Stasi describes an instance in which her husband, John, walked across an vacant beach asking God to speak to him in some manner to which God responds with the sighting of a majestic whale hovering over the waters at a distance too close to shore. John, has always been described and is a self proclaimed nature beaver, a mountain climber that gets a kick out of all that exudes God's design throughout nature itself. Having heard this experience, Stasi then gets an opportunity to stroll across a vacant beach and begins to beg God for a whale of her own. To no avail, Stasi is left in silence, settling with the thought that her pleas were somewhat foolish, but only a few steps further into the beach she encounters a starfish. (FYI, In my familiar skeptical ways I quickly dismissed the flimsy fish as a sign of God's response while reading.) Pacing down a few steps farther she suddenly finds herself surrounded by thousands of starfish on the sand to which her heart is awakened by the realization that God had answered her pleas. The beauty of this was that God responded to both John and Stasi in a manner that spoke uniquely to each. While Stasi begged for a whale, it would not have been as special of a love letter as it was to John just as her starfish would not have impacted John in the same manner it did her.

In reading this, I so foolishly followed Stasi's suit, begging for a whale or a sign of His unique love for me. Quickly losing persistence in my plea I resorted to doubt, it was then he responded. Splattering pink rays over the clouds and melting my heart to a drip. 'HE LOVES ME!' It was evident in the sky's print that evening and even more so in the overwhelming joy that lingered over my skeptical heart, joy far from the short lived happiness of a shopping spree or a human wish granted. This was a love letter from the world's creator to me, an endearing kiss from a father to his daughter, a personal message from a personal God, one that cannot be encountered at arms length. So whether the sky is grey, blue, pink or stark white, I will come alive at 5 for the serenading and wooing of my soul has forever been in place, long before I ever came to acknowledge it.

In Total Abandonment

Cindy Mancebo

Would you believe me if I said that this past Saturday was my first official Valentines Day, ever? That in 26 years of life I have never quite experienced the fullness of this day. This may seem nauseating to those of you broken hearted, failed and dismayed but believe me, I was there not too long ago and I plead that you bear with me through this post for a chance to hope again.

Certainly there were the occasional cards, flowers, love letters and gifts in the past, many from admirers with unrequited love, crushes too shallow to seize a good dive and relationships with all too many roadmaps for a journey of little to no direction. I'd grown so detached from what was once a joyful crafts day in kindergarten that I couldn't quite bring myself to plan for the day. Past disappointments and fairytales unmet had made their mark on me and left me bitterly reluctant. Lucky for me he was planning. Diligent, researching for days and weeks on end, calculating time and details, for to him it was an opportunity to celebrate. Flowers at my door, chocolates for unfamiliar cocoa cravings and a day full of events from skating, shopping to dinner and more.

With morning seemingly riddled in disaster, hair was uncooperative, clothes were uninspiring, and time was running short. It wasn't until we arrived at the skating portion of the day that I started to see it unfold before my eyes. Not having stepped onto an iced rink in years, I grappled onto the edges like a roach on candy and watched as everyone skated by freely. After struggling through the first lap and a half something in me snapped and finally made a decision to step out in all my fear, departing from all safety. Truth be told, a much greater implication of insecurity was at hand than the fear of falling. It was the fear of losing control, trying and failing. Nothing seems to have more damage on a human's heart than the marks laid against their pride and I sure am prideful.

You will never have control over past heartbreaks, current failures, nor impending disappointments but with the brokenness will forever exist the flip side of happiness, hope, joy, freedom and experiencing such things can only come when you let go of the rails in total abandonment. I'd rather leap and hope to God that he catches me on the way down than stare from the edges of the mountain dreaming, hoping, never having taken the risk of abandoning the hauntings of 'what if?' 

I skated, fell and got back up. It was then I understood, only love so true, so pure from the source could dare one to be so free.

Instagram Apocalypse

Cindy Mancebo

The days leading up to the massive Instagram scrub were probably the most anxious days of all of 2014. The spammers slaughter would be the official determinant of all our reputations. In actuality the scrub proved to eliminate impurities in our intentions (ironic, huh?), at least it did for me. For months, I had become so engulfed with Instagram numbers, comparing  myself and the blog to infamous and untouchable fashion bloggers. Though its hard to admit many of us, including myself, have all secretly wished to become Instagram famous but to what benefit? Just when I finally hit 1000 followers during my trip to Mexico, days later the scrub commenced and drew me back to only a mere 950 or so. Not as big a shame as those who lost tens of thousands but for the small fish, any loss counts as big. What was most ironic is that in the time of comparison obsessions I had grown such a distaste for the label of fashion blogger. It was clear that I had strayed far from expressing my true self, and it got me thinking, how often do we not all do it? Beyond Instagram, Facebook or even Twitter, how often do we stray from the very passions that are unique to each of us for the sake of competing among common masses? All striving to be 'unique' in some sense and in the process becoming clones as we alter ourselves for the sake of catering to a seemingly responsive public.

The apocalypse defined the true meaning of 'doing me'. Not the kind that insists I follow my heart like a flying hippie and do as I please, surpassing all consideration of serving others, but rather the kind of 'doing me' that sticks to what is most true. I will never grow tired of saying, I am not a fashion blogger or fashionista as truly I am not that. What I have is personal style in clothing, personal taste in food, music, a serious obsession for expressing those personal experiences, unique to me and yet indirectly (hopefully) inspiring you, through writing.

What did the Instagram scrub do to me? In an ironic way it saved my passions, restored my vision. Double tap if you'd like, or don't. Each post; photo, writing, or whatever else there is to come of this diary is an expression of life, capturing my heart's angle with every snap, every sentence and every word. Unfollow if you must, I welcome the rejection. I'm content to know that there is always one impact in a sea of millions.

Lack Luster

Cindy Mancebo

Over the summer a good friend shared her recipe for remaining creative. Ensuring that her husband would hold her accountable to such standard, she asked 'if you find that I am lacking desire to create or design, ask me about my prayer life'. She elaborated that only a healthy ongoing conversation with dad would draw one back to the heart of it all. How can we create if the heart is empty of its very source of joy? She then shared something so profound that most of us may know but rarely internalize. God's work is exquisite, without flaw, never lacking luster, how then can we settle to do anything less than such? Like a son imitating all that he admires in a father, so we seek to emulate the one we love.

All too often we penny pinch, procrastinate, and lack priority in doing so, suddenly the creative in us becomes stagnant and dries out, not because the gift has died but rather because the very reason of inspiration has been removed from focal point. Creating, designing is no longer of joy if the reason for living ceases to exist. Creation hinges on the giving of life. No molder molds clay for the sake of leaving it a blob nor will a singer compose a song for the sake of presenting it unfinished. When the element of life is striped from the creative, admiration of fashion becomes vain, enjoying food becomes reason for gluttony and the very knack for writing becomes dull. My stories become void and it is then when my soul cries out of thirst. These are the times I couldn't be more thankful for the days in the desert, for they bring me home to all that most matters. I am not a writer without the main author, nor a designer without the one who created it all, and certainly not joyous without the fountain of my joy. So if I cease to write, ask me, how's your prayer life?

Last Cup Of Red Wine

Cindy Mancebo

Sipping my first cup of red wine, enjoying a catch up meet of couples, there came the infamous and necessary question of 'Where do you see the blog going?' Nothing can make me cringe more than the question of the unseen, the 'where do you see yourself in 5 years?' questions, the ones that require much more thought and depth, the ones that make your brain wish it could self destruct on command. At this very moment red wine seemed like a wonderful parting gift as I pleaded with God to let the earth swallow me whole from where I sat. Truth is, when the answer to such question has yet to be defined, the feeling of being stumped with yourself can cause some major frustration. 

I couldn't offer an answer even if I wanted to. Not knowing its full purpose or what exactly I wanted it to become. For so long I'd held on to an idea whose original intent had changed without much notice or warning and finding myself at a fork in the road, I chose what seemed like the best guess. Lets talk forgiveness, without much fashion (phase 1). How about more fashion and die down on love (phase 2). But the evidence of its purpose has always been there, written in the very tag line of 'Fashion. Love. Forgiveness'. I didn't know it then when I first decided on this but the tag would forever be the reminder pointing my heart north. It's difficult to speak on what you do not know. Fashion, I admire but personal style remains of personal impact. Love remains a myth so long as my belief is tainted with conditions and past experiences. Forgiveness is far if you have yet to fully understand, experience and believe that you have been granted such gifts freely. The question seemed like the death of me but in reality it was the death to my facade and the rebirth of a true story.

Where do I see the blog going? I see it becoming a writer's hub, pages of my pursuit to find God's print and love across chapters of my life. A diary of reminders that He takes interest in me (and in you) and the very things that uniquely speak to you from the inspirations, food experiences, fashion, music, sunsets, conversations and more. It will be a recordings of the love letters He's drafted and splattered across the sky. I've got nothing more precious to share than the love story being written over my heart daily, why not share that?

I'm Back!

Cindy Mancebo

Though long over due (I know!), I'd like to first wish every single one of you a happy new year and offer an apology for my overdrawn disappearance. Much has changed in the last two months, events that have shifted my focus and priorities. And in Chic Tale fashion every change produces waves of evaluation across all facets of my life. With every new introduction a layer is peeled, each with a resounding emphasis on value and further definition of purpose.

With that said, I'm back once again, and I'm not here for a following nor for vain recognition of a personalized fashion sense. I am back with nothing more than writings, experiences to share and the hope that even one of your lives would be affected by my documented pursuits.

 

Bonfire NYC

Cindy Mancebo

What food is to the tummy, music is to my soul and trust me I love both! 

Last Saturday I had the amazing pleasure of taking part as a sponsor for the Bonfire Concert event hosted by friend and coordinator, Suleky Roman from Suleky Roman Events. The concert took place at the iconic Santos Party House in downtown NYC, featuring an outstanding lineup of artists including Marz Ferrer, John Givez, Spzrkt, BeleafParade and many more as well as spins by official DJ King Zulu.

Among the sponsors to attend was jewelry company, His Grace Her Beauty showcasing a beautiful display of statement pieces from rings to bracelets, earrings and more, a feast fit for the stylish gal. Keeping up with the night's vibe was DJ King Zulu sporting ripped jeans, basic white tee, a black leather jacket, flannel and a rich dark shade for the pucker that should have every DJ taking tips. Don't underestimate a woman that goes by the name of King.   

I'm not solely about fashion. As a singer and performing arts school graduate my ears and eyes are always inclined to an overall good performance. Not only did each artist deliver the talent, they also introduced elements of their personality that allowed room for engagement. Something beautiful occurs particularly in music when artists relinquish their guard for the sake of inviting fans into their lyrical story. 

Possessing a vocal arsenal of rich raspy tones and sultry sounds, Marz Ferrer captivated the scene as she journeyed into 'the zone'. The performance was magical, bringing each song, each story to life through a blend of vocal and theater. Her performance was an expression of freedom deriving from the heart and it was absolutely inspiring to witness.

Ending the night with an explosive performance was vocal powerhouse, Spzrkt (spazzy rocket). The transition between songs seemed like nothing short of a conversation with a friend, introducing himself as 'the most regular dude you'll ever meet' and certainly he was just that. It was a statement of hope for fans with dreams of their own, and a dare to pursue it all just as you are. 

Photographers: Bernard Osei & Ashley Cuadrado

The Impostor

Cindy Mancebo

What most of you will know about me strictly based on photos and a few entries is probably the perception of someone who's got it all together, maybe the opposite, I don't know but what I will admit is that I am far from perfect. Often feeling inadequate in all I do, from work, to relationships and even in faith, I strive to live just under the radar where the world can sense my existence yet never fully acknowledge it, for the fear that one day you will all believe what I have come to believe.

Not much of a blogger for in comparison to other well known established bloggers I am nothing more than a wannabe. Not smart enough to work alongside corporate america but just barely skimming the bar of acceptable help. Too controversial to be an ideal Christian so I'll settle for only displaying meekness and agreeable behavior so as to not ruffle feathers. On and on my thoughts go in a battle of accusations that war against one another in search for truth. And after much years and time invested into such battle I couldn't help but think, how different would the war be if I voiced these concerns and gain the strength to deny such fallacies. If I gave another the opportunity to remind me of the one who's loved me above all flaw, above all reproach, above all. And what if, in my admittance, another can gain a voice of their own. 

Today, I will not give you a facade or an instagram post of false impressions. Nor a fashion post to stir envy in a covetous heart. Nor will I feed your struggle for financial responsibility. Not that I ever do it with such intent but the reactions vary person to person. I won't feed your palette with foods you cannot feast on but I will let you feed on the thing that scares me the most, my vulnerability. I am nothing more than human, weak, incessantly arrogant and in forever need of a savior. In a world that demands perfection and altered perception, I will admit that I am broken just as many of you may be, and that's perfectly ok to be.

Wedded in Mexico

Cindy Mancebo

So for those inquiring minds...my Mexican getaway was actually work related, not a vacation but when you do what I do for a living most work feels like play and that's certainly not a brag but a humbling thought. I too, often complain about life's shortcomings and grow impatient at the author's perfect plan and timing but in writing these entries I am reminded that what we have been granted in blessings is undeserved and over abounding, far outweighing what seems to be lacking.

This wedding like most came with long nights of glue gunning, music blasting, paper cutting, gift bag filling and the occasional champs toast for the day's successful run. When morning came we were off to greet and welcome invited guests. People flying in from different states, all for the  purpose of celebrating two lives as they become one. After all was said and done the wedding was a success! Bringing about a night of celebration, surpassing display of affection and a father/daughter dance number inviting guests into the special bond of a father and his forever little girl.

El Arte de Mexico

Cindy Mancebo

Last week I packed my bags and headed off to Mexico to the small town of Playa Del Carmen. Although the trip was fully intended for work there's always room for a little play so I took to the streets and perused around with camera in hand (yes! like a flipping tourist). Cobblestone paved walkways led the way down the strip known as 5ta Avenida (5th Avenue) which is filled with storefronts and restaurants. If you've ever been to Miami, 5ta Avenida is a Mexican Lincoln Rd on steroids. Catering to passing visitors businessmen or more hustlers would call out to tourists for attention in hopes of wheeling in a sale. Many nicknamed my partner and I 'Brown Sugar' and 'Sister' among many others.

I must say that one of the things that captivated me the most in my mini getaway was the sight of surrounding art. Rich in color, true to culture and often paying homage to past Mexican celebratory figures. Sure, the streets of NY are filled with the kings and queens of artistry but there's something familiar, humbling and yet refreshing about the art displayed in another country. It inspires the writer in me and awakens my palette (style wise). Also serving as a reminder that there is in fact life outside of the NY bubble, just as rich and joyful, within less means.

Pursue Greatness

Cindy Mancebo

Pursuit, in its purest form, is steady and relentless. Never losing momentum in obtaining its desired target. In spite of failures faced it is not detained nor deterred. It requires time, energy, patience, diligence but above all, a hope that spans beyond our very being. It is reminiscent of the fairytales that once captivated our hearts as children. It is the pursuit of a prince for his princess, the story of the unlikeliest hero making the greatest of triumphs before a speculating world. But the beauty in a pursuit is never in its stride but rather its end goal.

So often we vow to pursue what we find to be the greatest achievements. A career, family, educational stance, all amazing in themselves but can we truly define them as great? I think greatness should be the point from which all of life thrives, the stream that fills the well, the peak of purpose. If the object of pursuit is a temporal one we are doomed to be eternally discontent. Surely unsatisfied with even the smallest of blessings because our treasured achievements are not meeting the standard for what is truly great. Greatness can only be found in a cause greater than ourselves, only then is the pursuit worthy of such association.

The Fear of Depths

Cindy Mancebo

Celebrating our monthly anniversary we strolled into Urban Outfitters after a massage beat down on the East Side. Making our way through the racks and then onto the relentless knick knacks we stumbled upon a blank journal for daily quotes. He was sold on the idea and I was quick to dismiss it, but days past that moment I suddenly found myself revisiting the thought of the journal. If for only a few minutes before we closed our eyes to sleep we would all just stop to reflect on the day's events and capture one amazing thought or single quote spoken to our hearts - on paper. How amazing would it be to revisit that thought a day from then, or a week, or months, or even years? Feeling called to the challenge I started a note on my phone and began to record the single most captivating thought, quote or inspiration of the day, that which I will be sharing here on the starting day of the week.

OCTOBER 21, 2014 

 

 

 

 

 

"Depths of the sea are overwhelming but with great depths come the realization of how small I am in comparison to the world before me" 


The earlier years of my childhood consisted of cruise vacations with my parents. Till this day the memory of freshly served sandwiches on a boat is nostalgic, guess I was a foodie then and hadn't quite put my claws on it at the age of 5. Beyond the delicious meals served, it was Jamaica's deep blue sea that waved an imprint on my heart. Holding onto the railings of the ship as I stared down intensely at the waters beneath, I couldn't help but be overwhelmed. So beautifully captivating and all the while intimidating. Its existence was one to be reckoned with not messed with, or so I thought.

To imagine myself in such depths have weakened me with great fear, forcing me to stick to familiar waters where my feet can visibly brush sand and my fingers pretend to touch the sky. But for how long can I play it safe at shore? In exploring this recurring feeling I realized that the true fear experienced in depths is that which entails a loss of self. How can we possibly reach new depths or altitudes awhile carrying the same weight we bare at surface or fly while refusing to lose the ground beneath our feet? This is not something simply attributed to the sea, it is the profundities faced in growing pains, relationships, broken hearts, accountability, and in challenging environments be it at work, school, or even home. Depths are demanding and overpowering, leaving us reluctant to dive in without reservation.

With every increment a new layer is shaved, making it frightening when faced alone. Suddenly the world seems impossible to conquer before such altitudes, often challenging our pride and illusions of grandeur, making them equivalent to that of a speck. But even in this, there is hope. For we are not left to face such depths alone, nor stripped of ourselves and left vulnerable to attack but rather made bare and braced for a new armor, new heart, a new perspective. Don't get me wrong, the sea is still surely respected but its depths make greater implications of the layers that often lie unexplored in our hearts due to fear of the unknown.

What great depths are you fearing?

"A change gonna come, oh yes it will " - Sam Cooke

Cindy Mancebo

When I first started this blog it was with the intention of motivating a good friend to pursue that which she was passionate for, fashion. I, at the time was exploring my love for design, specifically within the events industry. The blog, formerly named

Bridges to Glam

, felt like an opportunity to thrive within worlds where she and I both lacked proper certifications to validate our passions. Our majors were far from the creative. But beyond that, the ideas and potential possibilities for what we envisioned the platform to become seemed more like a bonding experience outside of our ten years of friendship. Sadly enough, that dream never took off, having different views and priorities we both went our separate ways. Unbeknownst to me, the idea of this virtual diary had seeded itself in my heart. Whether my friend was in for the dream or not, I was clearly sold on its beauty before it officially became

A Chic Tale

.

The last two years of writing and posting for this platform has given me more life than I planned for, more lessons than anticipated and in an ironic twist, has taught me more about myself through a love of fashion that was only secondary. Now, onto phase two. The logo's tagline has always read 'Fashion. Love. Forgiveness'. Up until now, I've only been sharing on the fashion aspect but what would happen if I ruffled some feathers by touching on the subjects of love and forgiveness? Sharing with you the very things that inspire and motivate this short human being. From the love of photography, food, places traveled, inspirational messages shared and more. A Chic Tale is not just a fashion blog or a personal style blog, it is a lifestyle recorded at the stroke of every key. Here is my version of events, the world as I see it.

To the spectators, new and former readers, I hope you will all continue to travel on this journey with me, that the many stories shared here may serve as advice from a friend, inspiration from a stranger or simply as a call to live life.

Photos by Penelope Tirado