What I'm Wearing:
Hat: H&M, Shirt: H&M, Jeans: Forever 21, Socks: Living Royal, Shoes: Guess
"Carry On, San Vicente"
Looking out at the water and feeling the sunshine along my face, it's something I can't describe, you have to feel it for yourself. I didn't think I would have some sort of spiritual connection with myself shooting this outfit, when Living Royal socks approached me to collab with them. I saw the socks and knew what I wanted to talk about, but I didn't think I would feel as connected to the outfit and location as I did until I got there and we started. I left with the outfit shot, the ideas outlined of what I wanted to talk about, and I even wrote a new song. I would title this page the name of that song, but I'm keeping that song to myself until i'm able to make my 3rd record. As a song writer it's one of those songs you dream of writing during the duration of your whole career. I don't like to choose favorites or sound like i'm the best songwriter, but damn, I know when my work is special, and that song that I wrote from the experience that I had shooting this outfit is a feeling in my heart I will never forget. I went there with the title of this page in mind and left with an expanded mind with 2 songs in my head. Carry On, San Vicente is a metaphor for moving on and moving forward with your life. This pair of cactus socks from Living Royal, captures the emotions of feeling stuck. Something about deserts in the middle of nowhere has me thinking of that emotional switch within us when pain hits us, the fear we feel when we encounter change, and the ability to forgive when someone does wrong to us. Cactus can be a beautiful plant to have around your home or garden, but it can also mean more, just like the cactus socks from living royal.
Denim, I wanted to go denim with this look. Country meets beach, kind of like Miley Cyrus's Malibu, kind of like me minus the city boy part of myself. Anyways, I felt denim would be the perfect fit for this look to bring out the socks. Country music always tells an in depth story. A lot of country artists use denim to showcase how they feel through their music. Denim is rugged, denim can go through periods of life and be reinvented to fit the current era we are living in. Denim survives through the changes of life. Cactus don't have to be watered often, they can survive through a period of time just like denim. So I chose to wear denim as a nod to the socks and the idea of reinventing yourself through the many phases of life. Deserts may always look the same, but many people travel through them and leave their own little mark that changes the desert from how it previously was. The cactus socks just stuck out to me when Living Royal gave me a selection to choose from in their catalog. I thought of my current state of life and how everything I have been through has made me feel stuck. How do you move forward when so much wrong has happened, how do you move forward when so many people have hurt you, how do you allow yourself to be okay when your not okay. You allow yourself to get stuck, you get used to the current state of life, you stay there and you stay the same like the cactus in the desert. But then new people come in your life, like the people who make their marks on the desert. You let down your walls, water begins to flow through your soul, you take what you have been given, and you make something better than what you had before. You take that bad situation, own up to it, and reinvent your denim. You begin to adapt to the changes, you begin to forgive the people who wronged you, you take that pain of being stuck like a cactus and wear it proudly like the socks on my feet, you look out at the water and let go, let go of all that hurt you have been through and accept it. That day I took a moment away from everyone, I looked out at the water and I just felt something, I broke down. I felt free. Something I haven't felt in so long. I'm not really free yet, i'm still like half in and half out, but in that moment I was free from everything. I owned up to my disease and struggles long ago, but that moment everything became crystal clear. For someone who is constantly criticized like me, It became evident that those hard moments being stuck, made me evolve into something more. My cactus grew, I grew, I owned up to everything and accepted what God gave me and evolved, and I will keep evolving. These socks reminded me that we gotta keep moving forward no matter what happens to us. It reminded me that every shadow proves there is a sun. That sun shine I felt on my face was the sign I needed to know that one day, I can truly be free from everything. I may have owned up to my disease and everything long ago, but as I felt my tears subside along the light, my fears made peace with who I am inside.
Moving forward can be hard. As I learned before and I'm learning again now, so many people will try to knock you down along the way. Stand up for yourself and speak up for yourself. Don't let someone try to take that beautiful view of peace that you have been wanting, away from you. Be proud of the pain and struggles you have been through. Wear it proudly and honor them. There's a silver lining in every scar, once you accept it, you will be one of the strongest people in the world. As I said earlier cactus don't have to be watered a lot, they need to be attended to every now and then, but cactus survive. So don't be ashamed if you have been a cactus stuck living in the desert. If your still standing, then you are a survivor. Never give up the will to keep moving forward. For every hill there is to climb, there's a view on the other side.
Carry on when the dusk won't turn to dawn, carry on when the sunshine feels long gone, and carry on when the worries you have don't seem to move along. Keep on dreaming of the sunshine shining along your face throughout the rest of these "Summer Nights" and beyond. You'll be free one day, we'll be free and that emotion I felt in that moment, will be felt once again, one day.
Photographer: Joanna Wheeler
Every post I will include the song that inspired me to build a post around it's title.
Stories From My Life - Chapter 2
NOTE: Please press play before reading post. To feel maximum meaning of this post.
What I'm Wearing: Jacket: ASOS, Hat: FUNKO CAPS, Shirt: Spider-Man Homecoming Disney Store Collection , Flannel: Chaps, Pants: H&M, Shoes: H&M
"Time To Pretend (a tribute to Spiderman: Homecoming)"
I wanted to write you a letter and dedicate a whole page to my favorite superhero, Spiderman. Today one of my now all time favorite films was released, Spiderman: Homecoming. Spidey and Peter Parker have been a huge part of my childhood, my teens, and my adulthood. When I was 6 years old my dad took me to a comic shop every month in a small town called Benicia, here in the Bay Area. That shop closed years ago, but its effect on my life has stayed with me all this time. Spiderman came into my life when I was such a young boy. I remember reading every issue and dreaming of the day that I would see Spidey and The Avengers team up. I had this comic, Avengers issue 314. Spidey helped the Avengers on a mission in space. After I read it I always pictured a film like that happening one day. I was 6 when the original Spiderman starring Tobey Maguire was released. I was enthralled and mesmerized by that film. I was a kid and in my kid mind I always thought the Avengers would pop up. Then as I got older, I learned that at the time it was impossible. Spidey shows up in my life at such pivotal points. He is an important part of this story, because Peter Parker has a piece of him forever living in my heart. I can't wait to share with you my memories from then to now and breakdown the pieces I am wearing in honor of Spiderman being in my life for the past 16 years.
6, I was 6 years old when the original spiderman was released. I saw it opening day with my godfather and his partner. It was one of my birthday gifts from him. I remember that day perfectly. I get emotional thinking about my upbringing with spiderman because I remember it very clearly. That day was one of the last days as a 6 year old and it was one of the best. That movie, seeing spiderman swing through New York and fighting off the Green Goblin, it expanded my mind to dream more. Seeing on screen what I have been reading on page was everything to me. Peter Parker inspired me to do better and to try harder. His heart and his love for helping people live in me as well. The following week was my 7th birthday and it was Spiderman themed. My gosh, my mom and dad made that such a big party. Over 150 people, tons of food, tons of gifts, a clown, a spiderman jump house, and so many memories I still hold close to my heart today. I am very fortunate and blessed for the things I was able to have and do when I was a child. My parents made sure me, my sister, my uncle, and my cousins (my brothers) who they raised had a childhood worth looking back on. I'm 22 and that day is still so fresh in my mind. In tribute to that day, I am wearing a Midtown school of science and technology shirt from the new Spiderman: Homecoming collection at the Disney Store. I'm pretty sure my mom bought me every spiderman shirt growing up and I continue that trend as an adult. I legit have so many spidey tees and this midtown shirt is the perfect nod to the school that Pete attends in the comics and films. I love the way this shirt fits me. Usually I'm very picky with t-shirts cause I don't want it looking so baggy. As you can see I had a hefty stage as a kid, but didn't we all?... lol. I love the simple design with the school logo and I think Disney Store did the perfect job with their mini collection. I'm sure if I was 7 I would have rocked the shirt then as well. Jump forward 10 years. 17, I was 17 years old when The Amazing Spiderman, the reboot starring Andrew Garfield was released. My grandma had past a year prior and my family had to go to Washington state to attend her life celebration rosary. It is custom for Chamorros (people from guam) to have 1 year anniversaries and celebration of life for people they have lost the year prior. My little cousin who lives in Washington had been begging me to take him to see the new reboot of Spidey. So on opening day July 3, 2012, we went to the only theatre in my grandmas small town and we watched it together. It felt like some sort of full circle thing because he was 10 and I was 17 so it felt like I was in the shoes of my godfather who took me to see the original spiderman 10 years earlier. This was the year I moved to LA. After I saw this film my drive and desire to go out and change the world just grew larger. I had just graduated high school early and released my first album, "Time Is All I Have" and seeing a new Peter Parker saving lives, falling in love, and doing amazing things really inspired me to go live my life. So with the help of Pete's drive, I left the life I knew and moved into my own apartment at 17 years old in Los Angeles, CA. That brings us to the denim jacket. I had this favorite denim jacket I wore all the time in LA. It's LA, denim is like a staple there, lol. When I came back to the Bay Area for work, the jacket got way worn out and I retired it. So it took me awhile to find a good denim jacket that I can adore. I love this jacket from ASOS so much, but it needed a spider touch. So I added on some pins from the Spiderman collection and a patch from the Marvel Collector Corps collection. It gave an already awesome jacket the touch of spiderman that it needed. I love settle details, and these details were awesome for this jacket. Back to the timeline, flash forward 2 years to May 2014. 2014 seems to be the year when my past life blew up in my face. But pieces of that life carried on over to my new life. In 2014 I opened up mrdombaza.com, I released my 2nd record "Let The Music Be Your Guide", I got dropped from the people I was working with on that record, I got a severe cataract in my right eye, and then obviously I was diagnosed with Glaucoma not long after Amazing Spiderman 2 and my 19th birthday. When Amazing Spiderman 2 was released I was still reeling from my first eye surgery. My eye was sort of stable, but it was getting to the point where the Glaucoma would take over the following month in June 2014. Spidey was there to give me some sort of comfort knowing that my world was already changing so drastically. My family took me to a private screening of The Amazing Spiderman 2 to ease my mind and keep me distracted from what was going on in my life. Let The Music Be Your Guide was being released at the end of the month and it was all a little to much for me to be juggling. The shoes, the red shoes from H&M. I purchased those that year. They were for one of my earlier outfits on mrdombaza.com. I never really wore them after that year. I guess when everything came crashing in my life I let it be and didn't want anything to do with it. Peter Parker has to own up and face things he does not want to face sometimes. But in order to save the world and make an impact, you must own up to it's struggles and heartaches. "With great power comes great responsibility". The red shoes are a reminder of that disastrous year. The shoes you wear make a statement because they are apart of your superhero costume you wear walking forward to move on and change the world. Your weakest moments make you stronger, and if anything out of all the lessons Peter Parker has thought me and all of us, it's that right there.
22, I am 22 when Spiderman: Homecoming is being released today July 7th, 2017. It's been 16 years since the original Spiderman was released. I feel like my life goes in circles. It may be new locations sometimes, but one circle completes and then another one begins, just like a story, that's life. In the past 24 hours I have seen Spiderman:Homecoming twice. I saw it last night and was mesmerized and enthralled just like my 6 year old self back in 2001. But that's just my personal experience, my second screening is the one I will always remember. My nephew is 6. He loves everything his Uncle DD loves. I feel right now that my story with spidey has come to another complete circle. I was 6 when I saw the first spiderman, knowing that my nephew is the same age is so special to me. I took him along with my whole family to see it at the same theater I saw the original Spiderman 16 years ago. As the opening Marvel credits began and that iconic spiderman theme played, I looked down and saw that same mesmerization I had when I was 6 and through my dark glasses that shield and protects my Glaucoma, I dried the few tears I shed from my eyes as my story expands in that moment and as a new story began in my boys eyes.
Thank you for going down memory lane with me and celebrating the legacy of my favorite superhero. Somewhere in the timeline of my life a 7 year old Dom Baza is smiling brightly knowing that Spidey and Peter Parker finally made it home where they belong, the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Today was one of those "Mr. Blueskies" kind of days. It will forever be a special memory to me.
Happy Release Day, Spiderman: Homecoming. May you inspire kids like my nephews to grow up and become something greater, as you always have inspired me.
Photographer: Dom Baza & Joanna Wheeler
Stories From My Life - Chapter 2
What I'm Wearing: Star Shirt, Merona, T-Shirt: Apt 9, Shorts: H&M, Shoes: Apt 9
"This Land Is Your Land"
Happy Fourth Of July! I can't believe we are 7 months into the year. 5 more months to go and 2017 will be a thing of the past. Every year when Fourth Of July comes around people celebrate America, the history, and the great accomplishments this nation has achieved. This year there is a bitter sweet feeling in the air with all that is going on here in the states and the world. As a grandson of non American citizens and the son of US territory citizens I celebrate all of the non Americans living in America striving for that dream we call, the American dream. Through 50 states, roads, mountains, deserts, water, and millions of citizens we must continue to make the America of our dreams. The America that we want the next generation of dreamers to come to and thrive for a better life and a better tomorrow. This is America, and regardless of what some people may say ALL are welcome. This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land, and i'm going to break down the true meaning of this holiday made for you and me.
As I think back to when I was a kid, I remember learning the pledge of allegiance for the very first time. President Bush was in office and we had to learn all the previous presidents and the national anthem in kindergarten to perform and recite for our parents at the end of the year. I remember my teacher Ms Hundrath explaining to us why it was important to know about our countries history. Why those stars and stripes on the flag were so important. I got to learn 2 cultural histories growing up. At home it was my families native island of Guam and at school it was all about America and how all the different cultures, races, and religions come together to form a special bond within a country known for being free. My parents left the island in the eighties to come to America to find more opportunities that were not offered on Guam. Just because it is a US territory does not mean Guam has the same rights as America. Guam is still not as evolved as America. For example, you can vote for the mayor and governor, but you can't vote for a US president unless you live on the mainland. Guam is very tiny, but very homey. My parents left behind their comfort zone and family to come here to start anew on a massive land that promised more opportunities for people from an island like Guam or a country like the Philippines, where another part of the world my family is from. This whole outfit is tribute to the flag and the iconic stars and colors on them. I don't have to break it down and describe why I chose the pieces because it's very obvious. But I will talk about the stars. Why did I make the stars the centerpiece of this outfit? As I have been bringing up about growing up around 2 very different cultures, I bring us back to my memories growing up in school and learning about America. What I love about America is you can go to school and learn so much as a kid. We learn about different people and the backgrounds their families come from. The 50 stars on the flag stand for 50 states, but they also stand for each and every one of us and our individual history. All of our families have a background and majority of the people living in this country started their roots on another land somewhere in this world. Lately people have lost faith in America because of new leadership, but I believe we should not loose faith in a country older than the people leading it. All of us have had family members and loved ones shape this country into what it is today. Why turn on a country because of the people leading it? The country, this land, did nothing wrong. Yes, someone is in office that majority of the world does not care for, but is he making America for us? It may seem like it, but through the misjudgments and hate that fills human souls the answer is no. We the people make America ourselves. We are still the country that people come to, to start over and be FREE. We are still living in the home of the brave. Laws and rules may change, but the heart of America does not. Our hearts keep beating and keep shooting stars into the sky like the fireworks we watch every 4th of July and the stars we see flying on that beautiful flag throughout our towns, cities, and states. Each and every one of our various nationalities, religions, orientations, etc, we stand for those stars on that flag. We must continue to show the world that this land is still made for everyone, no matter who they are and where they come from. We have to keep waving our flag for this country, our individual flags to represent where our roots are from, and our personal flags to show our unique personalities. You mix that all together and you get the American flag. Look beyond what is in the headlines and see that somewhere between the laws and rules still stands the American dream in the land of the free.
I looked over at the Golden Gate bridge and thought about how many people who weren't born in America that built that iconic bridge to create a true American landmark. There are millions who were born and raised in America, but like I said there are millions who come here and made America better. American citizens owe a great debt to all the foreigners and immigrants who helped evolve this country. The people in this country have had their weak and doubtful moments. Everyone makes mistakes, but it's up to us to learn from that and do better so we can continue to live and thrive in a beautiful land like America. We have to prove we are worthy of a land that can offer us so much. To everyone who may feel like you are unwanted in a country based on hope and freedom, please don't feel discouraged. There is still so much to see and so much to do here in this land. There is still more evolutions to be made. We as American citizens still have a lot to learn. The only way we are going to learn is to learn from each other. Just like how we learned from each other growing up in school. Don't be scared to honor where you come from. Your roots help shape America's roots. Because without the variety of humans living in this land, we would not be America. Follow your dreams whatever that may be. Sometimes you may think it's "Time To Pretend" and hide who you truly are, but its okay to follow your heart, listen to your soul and keep on thriving to keep America the land that was made for you and me.
My generation is the generation of tomorrow stepping up to the plate today. We must speak up so the generation below us knows that they have a voice that can be heard. It may not seem like it but what you put out in the world, people can hear that. The more good you do, the more good you'll see come right back to you. Don't be idiotic and and harass the American Flag like some people have been doing these past few months, don't say vial things about the man in charge of the country, all of that is not going to do any good. You can speak up, but you don't have to do it with violence and hate. Fire with fire only creates a larger fire. Keep doing you and focusing on the greater good, because tomorrow is a new day, and we are in the land of the free home of the brave. We still have a lot to do and accomplish for the America of tomorrow.
Happy Fourth Of July.
May god bless you and keep you safe.
Don't forget - You are loved, no matter who you are and where you come from.
Photographer: Joanna Wheeler
Every post I will include the song that inspired me to build a post around it's title.
Stories From My Life - Chapter 2
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Stories From My Life
(APRIL 17- PRESENT)