Texas Showdown (258)

Texas Showdown Festival | Photos For Visit El Paso

I’m totally playing “catch up” here on my blog – life has been full of a steady schedule of work, cooking dinner, cleaning, helping my son with homework, putting him to bed, tending after my boyfriend’s needs, then crumpling into an exhausted heap and starting all over.

I took these photos for my employer, Visit El Paso, while live posting at the Texas Tattoo Showdown Festival back in July. We came to the fest to foster an important relationship and open ourselves up to a new demographic – the young, edgy, metal & hip-hop loving folks.

The tattoo fest was a blast – my awesome beau joined me almost every step of the way: holding my equipment while I switched lenses, taking supplemental phone photos and bobbing his head right alongside me as the bands rocked it on stage.

We got to watch Drowning Pool perform – one of my favorite bands from my youth – but I’ll have to admit that the band sounded a little off with a different front man. RIP Dave Williams.

Keep in mind these photos were taken long before my recent Photography courses. Nonetheless, I’m digging the quality of the pics and I’m pretty sure my bosses enjoyed the results too!

You can see the rest of the photos here:

What do you think? Send me a tweet sometime @CrystiCouture 


Labor Day Brewskies

This weekend was full of adventure for Aaron and I. He was pretty much my assistant while I covered the Sun City Music Festival for Visit El Paso, we also had a little cookout and made a batch of beer. If you haven’t been reading my blog for very long, Aaron is my long-time boyfriend and a lot of what happens in my life is very intertwined with his.

While he was attending his last semester at NMSU, Aaron took a brewing class that changed his outlook on life and fostered a deep love for brewing. He’s made several batches since then but just transitioned into grain brewing recently. He’s starting with an IPA.

This is the first time that I have played an active part in the brewing process – and it was definitely interesting! A lot of steps are involved, lots of different equipment is used and the recipes are surprisingly simple, in my own opinion.

Aaron and I have been talking a lot about opening a brewery in the future, since beer making has become a major passion of his. My role would be more of an administrative / marketing position in the grand scheme of things, not really so much of the production, although I may participate in that from time to time. Together, we’re planning on picking a location, the construction or renovation and then a menu. Our model would follow something along the lines of High Desert Brewery in Las Cruces, NM.

I’m excited about this venture! There are a lot of elements to consider and this is certainly in it’s planning stages but it’s definitely something we’re planning on doing. For now, we’re just going to stay low on the radar until we have a physical location, a signature brew and a definitive brand identity under our belt!

The Great Work and The 6 Realms of Suffering

Ysufferingoga studios and alternative healing centers are finally becoming popular in my city. I’m pretty stoked about this development – I am always looking for fellowship in these sorts of practices so that I can build tangible knowledge and meet people who perhaps share the same life ideologies that I do.

I’m not a yogi but I am a Thelemite and practicing yoga is one of the many methods to obtain knowledge of the self and lead us on our individual paths, known as the Great Work.

This past Sunday, I attended a workshop at The Root, a yoga studio down the street from my place. The workshop was about the “6 Ways That We Suffer & How Not To” and was led by Michael Boyle. I found out about the workshop through Facebook and the event page recommended the following article as a primer on what we were going to discuss:

The Six Ways We Suffer

I read the article and took one of my Moleskine journals with me to the workshop to write notes. I recommend you read the above article to gain an understanding of the lecture. If you’re interested in hearing what Michael had to teach us that day, listen to the below MP3:

To learn more about the 6 realm teachings, please visit http://www.dharmainc.org/

What is ArtSpace and Why You Should Know

as_elpaso_headerA few weeks ago, I went to a community meeting held by representatives of Artspace USA, a national non-profit organization that strives to create sustainable, affordable living spaces for artists and their families.

El Paso has been going through an interesting boom in culture and arts, most likely set in motion through various initiatives sponsored and encouraged by city organizations. Either way, these artists have found their niche and have devoted a large part of their lives to their craft.

Unfortunately, art doesn’t always pay the bills. Despite that, art, music and creativity are mandatory elements in the growth of a city and it’s culture, so as a community, we need to find a way to help encourage these artists to keep creating.

Here is a set of tweets that I broadcast during the meeting. They started out by explaining what the proposed spaces might look like:




Then, after having gotten everyone interested in the spaces, the presenter then went into details regarding eligibility. An ‘artist’ is defined by being a creative of some sort; photography, painting, drawing, music etc.





Most exciting of all, at least to me, is how nicely this will fit into the 2015 Downtown Redevelopment plan, which is already well under way.


If you’re interested in learning more about the upcoming Artspace community in El Paso sign up for their newsletter and show some support. Every little bit counts!

School Days Are Here Again

 Chaotic. Amazing. Devastating. Exhilarating. 


These words describe my year so far: a precariously balanced compendium of the equally positive and negative. Certain choices in life are often harder to make than they seem like they should be. For me, my recent decision to go back to the UTEP to finish my Bachelor’s degree was probably one of the hardest choices I’ve made in my entire life. 

It would seem like a no-brainer to simply jump back into school after a 5 year hiatus and have no qualms about it. However, things are never as they seem. As a completely single mother with no family to rely on and my son’s father David, living 500 miles away, we finally came to a decision to have our son live with David while I finish my degree. 
This decision didn’t come about lightly, of course. Luckily, David and I have this really wonderful type of relationship in that we don’t hate each other and we’re actually very open about every aspect of our lives, especially when it comes to our son. It wasn’t always that way, trust me. 
As things were, Benjamin just didn’t spend enough time with his father and it’s never fair to keep a son away from his father for too long, even if it’s out of anyone’s control. Then I remembered the whole reason I came back to El Paso to begin with: to finish my degree. Of course, when I originally moved back, I figured I would have some family support but boy was I wrong. 
Once the decision was made, I talked to my son about it and explained the situation as thoroughly as I could. I felt pangs of guilt as we discussed certain plans that we had made: Benjamin was to attend a Kenpo Karate dojo and enroll in dance classes at a local studio once he returned to El Paso from Clovis. I then made the promise to him that he would attend both those activities in Clovis and so far, he has. He’s now signed up for Hip-Hop Dance classes and an MMA Fighting studio in Clovis. 
I started making arrangements at UTEP to enroll and now I am nearly done with the entire grueling process of waiting for financial aid, making sure my classes don’t run over each other and paying for books. I’m about 2 weeks away from the first day of school and I’m slightly nervous about it. I changed my major from Philosophy to Multimedia Marketing, since I’m pretty much doing that already and I might as well get a solidified degree in the field of which I enjoy working in. 
Which is another thing, too; my professional life has unexpectedly skyrocketed. As I have mentioned before, my day job is with a logistics factoring company and I initially started as a Collector. I was promoted to an Account Manager recently, but I turned this promotion down due to school and my other work activities. 
In addition to this, I have been writing regularly for El Paso Times and Fusion Magazine and just recently landed a very enjoyable gig with local promoting company, SMG Events. You can take a look at my ‘Resume’ to see some of my recent work. 
In short, I’ve been wildly busy. I think it will do my son very well to live with his father for some time, as they’re enjoy a close relationship and it will allow me some time to normalize my work flow, get my degree and become a better provider. 

To Thine Own Self Be True

“We are becoming the men we wanted to marry”  – Gloria Steinem

I’ve recently begun to accept and enjoy the perks of singlehood. This definitely hasn’t  been the norm for me. The last relationship I had was a little over a year ago and it lasted a little over 4 months.

It was the most disastrous relationship I have ever had.

As time has passed, I’ve had dates, companions and ‘gentlemen of note’ meander in and out of my life. I’ve even fallen in love. Nothing has truly fulfilled me. Each experience taught me something new about dating, about humanity or about myself. I’m far from being an expert but here are a few things that I learned along the way that I’d like to share with you:

  1. Always force yourself to give yourself time to clear your mind from a previous relationship. Don’t jump into something else for at least a few months. If you do, chances are this person is just a ‘rebound’. Once the dust settles, you’ll realize that this person may not be the one for you.
  2. Don’t settle. Comfort can be a sneaky thing. People long to be loved, even if it’s really an illusion. It should be that you’re looking for Mr. Right, NOT Mr. Right Now.
  3.  Never waste your time on someone who doesn’t share the same end goal as you. You’ll end up forcing yourself to believe that this other person wants the same thing that you do and you’ll be in for a rather heart breaking surprise.
  4. Friends with benefits is never as easy as it seems; someone will always get hurt. The way I see this, I’d much rather have a one-night stand and never see or hear from the person again than to have a faux lover.

I’ve always hated that the idea of belonging to someone. No one ever belongs to anyone. I don’t care what the argument is, we should all strive to belong to ourselves and share with others the life that we’ve created. That’s what I believe.

In a way, I’ve realized this as the biggest perk of singledom. I am creating an ecosystem; my own little world full of goals, experiences, passions, successes and adventures. I am getting to love the person I am and who I have become more than ever. I love that I work hard and I’m slowly accepting my curves. I love my personality and my quirks.

I’d like women to consider the fact that they don’t have to wait for this magical relationship to appear, that they can in a way, cultivate that for themselves. In a way that is deeply selfish in the best way.

Why I Am Not A Feminist

I am a peculiar sort of woman. Peculiar women often have unconventional methods.

Although I find myself having the perceived disadvantage of not only being a Hispanic but also being a woman, I have never suffered any disadvantages or been given any additional pleasantries because of that. Maybe it’s the multicultural region that I live in but it’s mainly because of way I approach life.

If there’s one thing that has been made significantly clear to me is that we’re all equals. Having a vagina makes me no different than anyone else. So naturally, it came as a surprise when I was recently called a ‘feminist’ because I host The Lady Bits Show. Surely not moi, I thought. Although the show is geared towards a female audience, it was never my intention to represent myself as a champion of women’s rights. Not that it would be a bad thing but that’s just not my modus operandi.

The fact of the matter is that wearing a bra does not humiliate me and I am not offended by a man who opens a door for me. I am not here to work for the feminist cause because both men and women are manifestations of the same energy that binds us all. We’re all made of flesh and blood and we all live and die. Being a feminist would mean that I favor one sex over another. It would mean that I find my sex superior than the other. I cannot stand for that.

To push my point a little further, the other day I tweeted at 3:30 in the morning:

I’m a compendium of opposing factors. So man-like, yet so docile; dominant yet submissive; intelligent yet naive and dignified yet course.

I think that sums me up quite nicely. In addition, I find myself hyperactively ambitious…never have I met a female to steady on her ‘grind’ or so they say nowadays. I keep a day job, I’m a single mother and try to stay on top of my freelancing as much as possible (see my Resume to illustrate the point).

Just in the way I live my life, I hold the following tenets to be true:

  • No one deserves handouts. You want something, go after it.
  • Being different doesn’t make you any different. As long as you have the drive, the world is your oyster.
  • It doesn’t matter what you were born with between your legs. Can you command the respect of those around you?
  • Ambition is the key to unlocking your potential and then some.

See? It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beau or a dame, black or white, poor or rich. Each of us can be elevated to new highs if only we strive to be. Feminism is, in my humble opinion, a lack of understanding. It is a way to prove that women are complainers. Instead of standing out there with picket signs, it would be much more productive to concoct an effective plan to elevate to the boardroom and make the decisions yourself.