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Featured Friday – Life is Art

by Featured Friday | 1 year ago

Life is Art (L.I.A…which is my daughter’s nickname!) That is what I believe, and that is how I have lived my life for as long as I can remember. I am not a professional artist, by any means…but I am the artist & creator of my life, and that is how I teach my children to live their lives.

I have always been a creative being. I always get excited in the office/school/art supply section in any store…so you can imagine how I go bananas in a Michaels or Flax! Everything around me inspires me. I want to create pretty things all.the.time! As a kid, I would watch Bob Ross and paint with him on TV. I would wander around hobby stores, finding economical things I could afford and transform them into something cute to put on my desk!

I was raised by two amazing parents, who were just barely escaping puberty by the time I was born! Haha. Raising two tiny humans, while still growing up themselves, must have been quite a challenge, but it was never something that my younger sister and I felt or witnessed. I would attribute that to the love they always showed us. That’s the magic of love. It always made us feel like everything was okay. My parents blessed us with two more siblings, and as I grew older, I began to realize some of the realities of raising a young family. With a limited education, both of my parents had to start from the bottom to create their careers. Raising four kids between the ages of 1-11 years old by the time they were 30 years old must have been challenging, especially while living in the Bay Area! Even so, my parents managed to provide us with a fulfilling childhood, filled with memories of hide and go seek in the dark, drawing contests, water balloon fights, and home cooked meals. We may not have had a lot of money to buy us expensive things, but my parents found creative ways to keep all of us entertained through meaningful interactions and activities. It’s these warm childhood memories of mine that have inspired me to create the same memories for my own children. I feel that this type of engagement is like a lost art, that has been replaced with technology. In this day in age, it is so much easier to rely on electronics to ‘babysit’ our kids. I’m guilty of it, too, but I strive to be as present in my family’s life as possible. In all honesty, it’s a constant struggle! Arts and crafts have become my way of connecting with my children, and I hope it has created some lasting memories for them.

 

My simple, wholesome childhood allowed me to appreciate the simple things. And at an early age, I became aware of how to be frugal…with flair. Who knew that this was the beginning of becoming a ‘frugalista’, haha! This thrifty mindset, mixed with my creative passions, allowed me to learn how to create beautiful things on a budget. Today, whenever I see something pretty, the first thought that comes to mind is, “I can do that!” I have always had the desire to create things that make me or people around me happy. My career choices have always been in the creative field. Before I became a stay at home mom, I was an Interior Designer, a Day of Wedding Coordinator, I managed a women’s clothing boutique and I started an online children’s clothing brand four years ago. Our clothing brand allowed me to design meaningful, yet fun tees for the whole family!

My mission was to spread positivity in our clothing, and give back to our environment. We strived to maintain eco friendly practices and planted a tree with every purchase! In four short years, we achieved a lot. And yet, I just recently made the decision to close up our online shop, so that I can focus on my family and pursue a different creative avenue. Every choice I have made in my life has been purposeful. It all has led me to where I am today. Each path I have taken was like another layer of paint added to my own personal masterpiece called life. I believe that all the events that have shaped my life, good and bad, has inspired my art. Even my mistakes have made a unique imprint. My thoughts, words and dreams have manifested into my life one way or another, and I am living in my masterpiece, which is a constant work in progress.

I married my highschool sweetheart, Eddie, and we are raising two beautiful children, Elijah and Angeliah (Lia, for short) in the Bay Area. My children, are by far, my best creations yet! I am mostly a stay at home mom, but I recently got a part time teaching job at my daughter’s school. Teaching has always been something I’ve wanted to do, as I love working with children! I am constantly amazed to see how I have made many of my dreams a reality. We are creating our own, messy but beautiful work of art, learning how to live with purpose, intent, and joy each day. It is my creative nature that propels me to try new things, and create colorful experiences with my family. My husband and I recently created a family Youtube channel to share how we create the life we want. Eddie has already compiled a small series of videos with tips on how anyone can achieve this, and I will soon be sharing my passions in DIY crafts, my love for fashion, our constant quest to discover new restaurants or wholesome recipes to make for my family, travelling with kids and the realness of living in the Bay Area while trying to create our own version of a good quality of life! I hope our journey inspires others to believe that we are in control of our lives, and we have the amazing ability to paint the life we want.

Thanks for reading, and Happy Holidays!

-April Lavina Manio

YouTube: @themanyoshow