Saturday, January 26, 2019

"Fireside Flow" with Loretta & Paul

My wife is a nurse & a yoga instructor, and has always been very health-conscious. She has brought so much positive change into my life... I am deeply grateful for her presence, and tell her so every day.

Together, we formed a brand called "Conscious Living for You" to help other people achieve better health in mind, body, & spirit.

Besides her yoga teaching, we have begun doing workshops together that incorporate yoga, meditation, and relaxation techniques using medical & scientific research. We just did a presentation on mindfulness and stress relief practices to parents of a local school district. (I will be posting that video soon.)

Yoga has really been a catalyst for both of us to raise our physical and mental health to new levels. I try to go to as many of her classes as we can, and sometimes we practice together.

Last week, on a freezing January night, we had the fireplace going and did a "Fireside Flow". We got heated up pretty quick and started taking shirts & socks off, while our cat Bella was roaming around in the background.

Here is the full session, which is about 40min, so feel free to bookmark and follow along for a great workout when you can! It is not an easy flow, but that is how we have challenged ourselves to become better and stronger.

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Absurd Creations of Alan Wagner

I love finding new artists on places like Instagram, and I recently came across the hilarious Photoshopped art of Alan Wagner:


His approach is a combination of completely ridiculous content + crappy design = two of my favorite qualities when it comes to humor.

Here are a few of his creations that gave me a laugh, but there's plenty more:

 "Time to Let's Cook!" Play Set

Fisher-Price Mecha-Soldier Exoskeleton

Babystrong™ Hookah for Pregnant Women

 Heat-Locked Chicken Nuggets

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Weird Junk- Office Monkey

My sister recently sent me this link from 1-800-GOT-JUNK with a Top 10 list of strange items that were found by their removal services:

It reminded her of all the crazy "Flea Market Finds" that our family hunts for on our outings together.

My favorite item was obviously the "Office Monkey," which I'd totally buy if I ever came across it in a flea market, or anywhere else:

Click this link to see what he looks like once he turns back to his computer and engages cyberspace:

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

The Roast of Uncle Ron

In August, my Uncle Ron turned 75, so his family decided to hold a very special surprise birthday party for him... where he would be subject to a "Roast".

Ron is one of the most sarcastic and funniest people I know, so it was fitting to have a chance for a select group of his friends and family to turn the tables on him.

When I asked my cousin who the roasters would be, she told me that I was one of the people they had my mind. Of course, I accepted & started preparing immediately to absolutely skewer my dear uncle!

I spent weeks editing and rehearsing my set, and when the roast came I was ready to make the room (including him) laugh their asses off. The whole party and roast were awesome, and I had a great time being part of it.

My brother Justin took video of all the roasters, and also Ron's rebuttal. For our Christmas White Elephant game, Justin made a BluRay of the video footage & asked me to create a cover for it. I enjoyed making the BluRay cover almost as much as doing the roasting!

(click to enlarge)
Here is my set, which starts off with an impression of him, and then I pick him apart piece by piece. I touch on his hoarder-esque basement that I call "Uncle Ronorium's Wonder Emporium", his similarities to Trump (who he definitely doesn't consider his personal hero), and his perpetual baldness, among other things.

Here is a link to the full playlist:

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

The Ups & Downs of 2018

2018 was a year of major milestones in my life, with many wonderful events and experiences. However, life is never perfect- and there were serious challenges, disappointments, and fear, as well.

In July, I got married to my best friend and the love of my life. Our wedding was everything we had envisioned, and embodied the sacred nature of our relationship.

Soon after the wedding, we moved into our first house together, and again it was exactly what we had envisioned. Being a creative professional, I am familiar with manifesting my thoughts into physical reality. I feel like both of us together take that power of manifestation to a new level, especially when it reflects the true intentions of our minds & souls. Although there are responsibilities and bills to pay, we are enjoying our life together and building a fruitful and positive future.

My wife and I created a brand together called Conscious Living for YOU. Our intention was to create a resource for people who wanted to improve their quality of life in mind, body, and spirit. It also represents Loretta's yoga teaching practice, and my design services for health & wellness companies and services.

I have also been growing my creative businesses. My freelance graphic design and marketing business is Paul Micarelli Design. I have learned a lot over the past year being self-employed, and worked with some awesome clients on many different types of projects- branding, web design, social media graphics, promotional materials, and even some 3D rendering.

I've also been getting more bookings for my photo booth & custom portrait business, Fantasy Photos. Although this is more of a side gig right now, I love meeting new people and providing the entertainment for their events. I never get tired of Photoshopping people of all ages and backgrounds into fun pictures.

Unfortunately, there have been some real struggles to go along with these successes. Making enough money to make ends meet is the biggest challenge, and I'm hoping as my businesses grow and Loretta and I become more successful together, these difficulties will diminish.

During the holidays, I have faced some really difficult circumstances that have ended the year on a very stressful note. The major issue has to do with transactions made through PayPal. In the summer, I agreed to accept several payments through PayPal for a third party through my main client, who provided me a lot of work, but claimed he wasn't able to use PayPal at the time. I took a cut for my design services, and the client got the rest of the money. Just before Christmas, the third party put in claims against me & recalled all the funds, claiming the work was not done. Now all the money, over $10k, is being held against my PayPal account, basically freezing it until the matter is resolved. This is outrageous, since I am basically guilty until I prove myself innocent and being penalized for it. To make matters worse, the client (the one actually contracted for the work) refused to provide any documentation that could help my case when I finally demanded it.

I spent the time between Christmas and New Years compiling all the information on my end proving that I had, in fact, done the work and provided it to the client. As a result of this whole fiasco, I have cut ties with the client, who was keeping me busy and a source of revenue, although it was fairly unreliable. Now, I am going to try to pick up the pieces and see if I can generate enough business through other clients to keep going. If not, I am considering other avenues as well in the short term.

This has been one of the most stressful experiences in my professional career, and I am hoping that PayPal and the claimant's financial institution accept the clear evidence that I am not at fault for this. In the meantime, my PayPal is tied up with this negative balance and it was one of the ways I got paid quickly by clients. This has given me a whole new outlook on these banking services and how to process payments from clients. It has also made me re-evaluate how I conduct business with all my clients.

As icing on the 2018 cake, on Christmas Eve, my Facebook page got hijacked through one of my secondary email addresses. The password was changed & I was locked out of my account. I spent the afternoon on Christmas Day cleaning up this mess, recovering my accounts and changing passwords. The hacker tried to get into my Facebook page again the other day, but thankfully was unsuccessful this time.

Despite these serious setbacks, I have tried to keep a positive outlook. I am still alive, after all, so there is always the potential for things to get better. These tough experiences will make me wiser, stronger, and better able to handle obstacles in the future.

On a global scale, there are much crazier things going on than what I am dealing with. For instance, we still have this jackass as President of the United States, tweeting out nonsense like this on New Years:

It's truly unbelievable and disheartening that this is real. The scary thing isn't that this ignorant buffoon is in the most powerful position on the planet and has the mentality of a toddler.. it's that so many people still admire him and don't think there's anything remotely wrong with it. If you looked at his Twitter feed without knowing who it was, you would think this person is severely mentally ill.

As I get older and another year goes by, the one thing I can count on is that the world is absurd and will never stop producing weird & crazy shit. We can curl up and retreat from the craziness in fear and horror, or we can take a deep breath, smile, and realize that it is all only temporary, so we might as well enjoy the ride (as our wise leader says), with all it's beautiful scenery, uncomfortable bumps and unexpected detours.