Embracing My Passion

posted on: Monday, March 25, 2013

Napa Valley winery, Cakebread Cellars

My twenties were tumultuous.  Always trying, forever searching --- for a job, a purpose, for something...anything --- and continually trying to make sense of it all.  And then one day, I turned the page on 30.  But it wasn't the numerical value that phased me (I could care less).  If anything, I found myself embracing this new decade with open arms because for the first time in my life, turning 30 gave me the courage to let go of my inhibitions and delve into my passion for creativity.

Three years ago, many of you know that I started a food blog, namely Spicy Green Mango, as a way to share my culinary curiosities with the world.  What many of you may not know is that at the time, I was also juggling a full-time career and pursuing my MBA (thankfully having graduated this past year...woo hoo!), all while inadvertently dabbling in wedding planning and food styling to satiate my creative lust over the summers. My days were spent traveling incessantly for work, while my weekends and evenings were consumed with school, homework, and class project meetings. I was pulled in every way imaginable, and much like the financial spread sheets that were haunting me in my sleep, I was out of balance. I needed to ground myself in the things that inspired me the most.  And the most magnetic of those pulls was from the creative world --- the hours I spent drooling over Pinterest images, and foraging for any source of visual or literary inspiration I could possibly find. And it was in these moments that I learned to embrace my passion.

The founding of CHANDARA CREATIVE has been a long journey, and as I reflect, I am reminded of a diagram that was widely circulated via Facebook.  It was a diagram of success.  For many of us, we'd like to think of success as a linear path, one that takes us from point A to point B.  But in my reality, success has a been a path of squiggles, dotted with a series of setbacks & detours, punctuated with flashes of self-doubt, yet illuminated with moments of inspiration and heartfelt words of encouragement.  You see, never in my wildest imagination (and I do have a pretty crazy one) did I ever think that my love for children's books, whimsical doodles, artistic expressions, and all things edible would turn into anything but a hobby.  And while everything is still a work in progress, it's progress, nonetheless.  As I set out on this path, my hope is for you to join me and share your path of squiggles by remembering your stories of disappointments just enough to humble you, but also celebrating your moments of triumph just enough to inspire you.  For as a wise friend once told me not so long ago:

"It's always risky when we share the hard moments we went through, but...it also humanizes us.  And these experiences are what connect us to the next person --- to remind ourselves, to remind each other, that life is hard, and that the journey is long.  But when you have friends, family, and an entire community rooting for you, nothing, I repeat, nothing, can come between you and realizing your dreams."

Well put, Julia.  So go ahead. DREAM BIG.  And don't forget to surround yourself with only the greatest people.  Because these are the people who will enable you to weather the most tumultuous moments of your lives, and they are the same people who will come to celebrate in your life's proudest accomplishments & lift you higher than you ever thought possible.


CHANDARA CREATIVE is dedicated to all my dreamers and believers out there, especially the ones who believed in me even when I didn't have the courage to believe in myself.  It is because of you that I am here today.  And it is because of you that I am continually inspired to dream my crazy, big dreams. And for that, I am truly, madly, deeply grateful.

Stay Inspired,

Creativity Is My Passion

posted on: Saturday, March 16, 2013

This is my motto, my catch phrase, and my truth.

There are 3 things that inspire me:  food, people, and places. For so long, I've been keeping my inspiration gallery nestled in my head, and as big as my cranium is, I realized that I could no longer keep all those goodies locked up in one place. So here it is...CHANDARA CREATIVE, the blog:  my inspirational collective of musings from the creative life.  It's a direct extension of my love for food [styling + photography].  So, what does this mean exactly? It means that aside from being a food blog, this is really a space for me to feature my projects along with the works of amazing creatives who I admire and continue to inspire me to do what I love.  I know what you're thinking: "But Chandara, what about the food? I came here for food!" I get it...if you came here for food, rest assured that you won't be disappointed (Whew! Can we be friends again?), and I'm putting together an entire post dedicated to the rebranding of my site..more to follow soon.  But I digress.

Let's face it:  Within the craziness of our social media-centric lives nowadays, sometimes, there are days when we all just need to give ourselves a little break --- to relax, re-energize, and re-focus.  During my 3 year hiatus, I've done a lot of thinking and re-evaluating what it was about my first foray into the blogosphere that really inspired me. Was it the chance for fame? Nope! Was it the opportunity to get sent to eat good food? Well, okay, you got me there! And if anybody you ever wants to send me a sack of oysters, I wouldn't try and stop you. But more importantly, was it a chance to unleash my creativity? You got it! I found that regardless of where I was at in my life, I always sought out sources of inspiration to nurture and rekindle my passion for creativity.  I am at my best when I'm able to create --- experiences, memories, and moments.

And that's what I'm hoping this blog will do for you! Above all else, I hope this blog inspires you to be your best self and live your best life. So, for my loyal fans who have seen me grow up, welcome back, and I'm so grateful to you for believing in me and supporting me even when there was complete radio silence on my end. And for those of you who are just joining me for this this new & exciting stage, welcome and I am thrilled to have you! Now, let's get inspired, shall we?

Stay Inspired,

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