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Posted by on Jun 23, 2014 in Blog, News, Thoughts | 27 comments

Packing my Studio. Getting Ready to Sell Our House in LA.

Packing my Studio. Getting Ready to Sell Our House in LA.

  Bill and I have something in common, and that is that we don’t waste time going from point A to point B once we know what we want to do. This happened, for instance, when we first met in 2000 in Havana, Cuba. A week or so after that first encounter Bill was back in Havana to spend some more time together as a couple. We both knew that we were meant to be together. A month later I was with Bill in Vietnam where he was producing this film. The idea was to get to know each other better. A few months after that, we were already in LA, living together. A year or so later we got married. Then we had Natalie. When Natalie was a little over a year old,  we went to see our Dr. to hear what she thought about us having a second baby. She said that we should wait, but we did exactly the opposite. Diego was born 9 months later. We were not getting any younger so...

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Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Blog, Etc., Inspiration & Thoughts, Thoughts | 29 comments

Today is my Birthday. And the Art of Aging Gracefully.

Today is my Birthday. And the Art of Aging Gracefully.

* After Bernice Evenson died,  just 8 days short of her 99th birthday, her son Michael found this note, handwritten by Bernice, in a box filled with photos. He was excited to share it with his family and I. Michael is my beloved friend Debra’s brother (Debra also died, in 2011, but she lives in my heart). Today I want to share Bernice’s Ten Maxims for Aging with you because I think that they are so wise. I met Bernice only once, but she left such a strong impression in me. Bernice was a very unique soul. So full of love for everyone and genuine happiness. Back then when we met at her  apartment in Florida, I didn’t speak much English, but that didn’t matter. She knew how to make me feel at home. After all these years I still remember her with love and appreciation. And when I think about aging, I always remember Bernice as a role model. She is the perfect example of someone who knew how to age gracefully. To learn more...

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Posted by on Dec 31, 2013 in Blog, Inspiration & Thoughts, Thoughts | 17 comments

4 Lessons from 2013

4 Lessons from 2013

  1: Humans need to stay connected to other humans. One of our most common tendencies when we are exhausted –physically or emotionally — is to isolate ourselves and disconnect. I did that a few years ago when my son Diego’s was diagnosed with Autism. I neglected my friends and relatives and only learned later that staying connected was the best medicine I could have given myself at that time.   Now I realize that behind life’s greatest events there is always an element of human connection, not an element of human disconnection.   This essay is about how 2013 has been such a great year for me and what I learned along the way.  I think about Penelope Trunk and her World Trade Center survival story: “I remembered one more moment under the rubble. When I couldn’t breathe. When I couldn’t see. In the middle of the dead quiet was a voice. He said, “Is there anyone here? Can someone hold my hand?” I reached out to the voice, and held his...

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Posted by on Dec 6, 2013 in Blog, Illustration, Inspiration & Thoughts, Thoughts | 23 comments

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone.

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone.

* Here is a watercolor that I painted based on the idea of stepping out of our comfort zone. Have you ever seeing a flying fish? By leaping out of the water and flying through air a few feet above the water’s surface, they can advance around 50 meters. 2013 has been the year of the flying fish for me. I challenged myself to leap out of my “water” to experience some advance.  There are so many new things that I have done this year. Launching this blog, my paper blog and the new shop were the biggest things. When I decided to go from Typepad to WordPress in order to redesign and re-think my Internet life, I was extremely excited and ready for the step. I knew that WordPress was going to give me lots of great tools for growth.  But I didn’t know anything about the new platform, other than it was wonderful for creative people and entrepreneurs. After my decision, the learning process began. I can’t...

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Posted by on Nov 5, 2013 in Blog, Inspiration & Thoughts, Mixed Media, Thoughts, Videos | 19 comments

Making Things Happen.

Making Things Happen.

* Dear friend, Yesterday was such an exciting day! Seeing the new blog and shop up and running made me feel a great sense of accomplishment. Now that I finished the work that started several months ago, it is the perfect time to share some ideas about productivity that you might find helpful. Let’s start with an e-mail that I got from a Facebook friend: “Dear Elsa, I always look at your fb, pinterest, blogs, etc.I wonder: how do you manage to have time for everything and besides make so much art? I need some advice…I find it hard sometimes to put my art life, wife life, all the lives women have, together. Love! G.” My answer to G. was a short email. But her question inspired me to write and illustrate this post. Here is how I do: 1. THINK The first thing that I do before I start anything, is think. This means to stop everything, sit down with a piece of paper, a pen, and think about  what I want to do...

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Posted by on Aug 9, 2013 in Blog, Inspiration & Thoughts, Thoughts | 6 comments

The Joy of Building Something New.

The Joy of Building Something New.

  What you see in this picture is the old fence on the left side of our house. This fence was built without much love before we bought our house in 2003. The wood was bad quality and the construction terrible. As a result, it only lasted for 10 years, which is not much for a fence. According to my research, a good fence should last about 40 years. We had to think a lot before deciding to replace our old fence, mainly because of the cost involved. But the strong winds that hit California once in a while didn’t give us too much time to think. One day, while Bill was traveling and I was home alone with the kids, the fence started break-dancing with the wind, to the point of making Natalie and Diego jump up and down with great excitement. It is a miracle that it didn’t fall apart. I had to attach a chain from one of the posts on the fence to our deck...

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Posted by on Jun 24, 2013 in Blog, Inspiration & Thoughts, Thoughts | 18 comments

Getting Unstuck.

Getting Unstuck.

* If you ever find yourself stuck in any area of life, chances are that there is someone out there who can help you get unstuck. Here is a personal example: I have dealt with emotional eating for a while. Starting in my teenage years and as a result of different factors, weight and food became issues to me. If you don’t have this kind of problem, God bless you. If you do, then I don’t have to explain how difficult it is. I bet that more people than we imagine suffer, in some degree, from an eating/weight problem. But the social pressure (which is part of the problem itself) is so strong that we feel ashamed to talk about it openly. We either go to one extreme or the other. Sometimes we enter the denial zone: I am overweight/underweight but this is my body and I have to accept it because what really matters is what is within, bla bla bla. Or we go the other way around and...

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Posted by on Jun 13, 2013 in Blog, Inspiration & Thoughts, Thoughts | 6 comments

Women and Money.

Women and Money.

  Dear girlfriend, this post is for you: * © Photo by Elsa Mora  © Photo by Elsa Mora  © Photo by Elsa Mora  © Photo by Elsa Mora   All of the above are excerpts from the book by Suze Orman: Women and Money. Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny. I believe that every woman should read this book. It is easy to understand and packed with concrete, valuable advices from a smart lady who truly knows what she’s talking about. You won’t know how much you need it until you read it. My mother in law gave it to me a few yeas ago and I am eternally grateful that she did.  If you want to purchase this book, just click on the picture below ↓     HERE ARE SOME PERSONAL FINANCE BLOGS FOR WOMEN: Almost Frugal Don’t Mess With Taxes The Family CEO Girls Just Wanna Have Funds How I Save Money Mom Advice Stacking Pennies Wise Bread    ...

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Posted by on May 9, 2013 in Blog, Inspiration & Thoughts, Thoughts | 38 comments

Today is my Birthday.

Today is my Birthday.

  This week I had to go through some uncomfortable tests because a part of my body was sending some alarming signals. It has been the scariest experience ever. Jumping from my normal life to some tiny rooms in a huge hospital filled with other alarmed people was something unexpected. Being examined by large cold machines, filling out paperwork. I felt scared. At some point during one of the tests (an ultrasound) I got to see the shape of something weird inside my body. The lady doing the ultrasound was sweet, she kept trying to make me feel comfortable. But curiosity kept pushing me to look at the screen. My fears started to grow bigger and bigger. My head was spinning. What would happen if my children can’t have  their Mom? How would that affect them? Those were my first thoughts. How is my husband going to cope if I’m not around? I felt that my world was slowly turning upside down. I faced the possibility of not having...

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Posted by on May 3, 2013 in Blog, Etc., Found, Inspiration & Thoughts, Thoughts | 2 comments

Upside Down?

Upside Down?

  One of the things that I have learned from my Autistic son is to look at things from a different perspective. Our brain tends to create patterns. Maybe it has to do with our ability/need to adapt. We feel comfortable doing the same thing in the same manner over and over again. But after a certain period of time it becomes boring  and repetitive. I believe that as creative people we should push ourselves to step out of our comfort zone once in a while. But to do so we have to conquer our fears. Most of the times we’re afraid to try new things because we believe that our world is going to turn upside down. But that’s only a way to convince ourselves that it is better not to change anything. This post is to show you that it is OK even when things turn upside down. Sometimes an upside down world is more interesting than one where nothing interesting is happening. My son Diego has...

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Posted by on Apr 17, 2013 in Art is Way Project, Blog, Inspiration & Thoughts, Thoughts | 13 comments

Art is a Way

Art is a Way

  We tend to see everything in dark colors when bad things happen. That is OK, it’s human to lose faith in humanity sometimes. But is it also part of human nature to be compassionate, to connect with each other and to do the best we can to make of the world a better place. That’s the side that I try to stay on in my life. Today I want to share this picture with you, because it makes me happy. The story of it is simple but it talks about the beautiful side of humans. Not too long ago I wrote this post about my cuban friend’s street exhibition in NYC. My blog friend Susan Wells wrote a comment saying that she was going to be in NYC with her daughter Jolene and that she was looking forward to seeing the sculptures in person. I asked her to take a picture with her daughter next to one of the sculptures holding a sign that said: Art is a Way. It was a fun idea...

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Posted by on Mar 20, 2013 in Blog, Illustration, Inspiration & Thoughts, Thoughts | 7 comments

WHAT DO YOU GAIN FROM SEEING THROUGH OTHER PEOPLE’S EYES?

WHAT DO YOU GAIN FROM SEEING THROUGH OTHER PEOPLE’S EYES?

  ↑ © Colored pencil drawing by me   *It teaches you things that could be helpful in special circumstances. * It helps you get out of your mental cave and understand that you are not alone. * It enriches your personal world. * It teaches you compassion. * It also teaches you identify and understand how  some ill-intentioned minds function. * It teaches you social skills that are important to navigate life. * It helps you connect with other people. * It helps your creativity. * It widens your understanding of what being human is.   Being human is being not only the way  you are. There are endless ways to embrace human nature. Wether you like or dislike other ways, they exist, they are part of reality. Ignoring them doesn’t make us wiser, it makes us ignorants. I agree with the sign that John Lennon and Yoko Ono are holding:  “Don’t hate what you don’t understand.”   . ....

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Posted by on Mar 18, 2013 in Blog, Illustration, Inspiration & Thoughts, Thoughts | 11 comments

Thoughts About Pain.

Thoughts About Pain.

    Happiness is not  tangible.  You cannot touch it, you cannot measure it, you cannot put it in a box and keep it in a safe place. That is because happiness is a concept, a creation of the mind, something invented. I believe that happiness is up to each of us. What makes someone happy could make someone else sad . Happiness is a personal experience that belongs to us alone. The opposite of happiness is pain, physical and emotional. But I want to focus on emotional pain. Emotionally  painful experiences have endless sources; some come from childhood and some from adulthood. They come in all sizes and colors. Some create deep scars and some don’t leave scars at all. But all of them shape us to be the person that we are, depending on how we interact with them. When pain owns you, you become a victim and it is hard to move forward from that position. But when you do the opposite and own your pain,...

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Posted by on Mar 14, 2013 in Blog, Illustration, Inspiration & Thoughts, Thoughts | 9 comments

How are you getting along with your brain?

How are you getting along with your brain?

↑Colored pencil drawing by me The most tricky relationship ever is the one that we have with our own brain.  We have carried it around since we can remember,  we think that we know it well, but knowing your brain completely is nearly impossible. We read books about the brain, we hear about advanced experiments done with all kinds of brains to measure IQ, electric response to simuli…and even to figure out when it is lying. But that complicated organ is always ahead  of everything, including science. I read that some people’s brains have found ways to trick lying detector machines. The brain has a life of its own.  Mine likes to jump out of  my head and walk away once in a while, as if I didn’t exist. Then I have to convince it to come back and be my friend again. But that’s what life is all about. No matter how complicated it is sometimes, we should never stop doing our best to get along with that...

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Posted by on Mar 13, 2013 in Blog, Illustration, Inspiration & Thoughts, Thoughts | 12 comments

About Being Imperfectly Happy.

About Being Imperfectly Happy.

* The other day I was analysing my children carefully. They are so different but so similar at the same time. Natalie is gifted in areas where Diego struggles and vice versa, Diego is gifted in areas that are challenging for Natalie. I attended the parent-teacher conferences for both  recently. It was a great opportunity to see my children through another person’s eyes. Having a neurotypical child and an Autistic child puts me in a special place. It helps me understand that children, no matter how their brains function, need the same basic things to be happy. The drawing below is my attempt to name what those basic things are. Natalie’s grades came out perfect, literally, she got the highest scores in absolutely everything that the school measures by numbers. Diego’s scores on the other side came out far from perfect. Does this mean that Natalie is right and that Diego is wrong? Absolutely no. I can tell you that scoring so high is a challenge for Natalie, she feels lots of...

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Posted by on Feb 27, 2013 in Blog, Inspiration & Thoughts, Thoughts | 29 comments

Scissors

Scissors

  I’m doing some research for a project that involves scissors. Scissors have fascinated me since childhood. It all comes from my materially poor life in Cuba. We had a single pair of scissors that Mom kept locked in a drawer. I was allowed to use them for the first time when I was 8, but never for cutting paper, only fabric. I still remember the old man who came around the neighborhood to sharpen knifes and scissors once a month, for 1 cuban peso a piece. Mom’s scissors were sharpened so many times over the years that the metal started wearing out. I was worried that one day they were going to vanish in the old man’s hands. In developed countries most tools are taken for granted, because they’re easy to find. But while living in Cuba, it wasn’t like you could just go to the store and buy scissors. Where I grew up, scissors were passed from generation to generation as you do with other valuable objects....

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