Categories
conscious living

How Mindfulness Reconnected Me With Fashion

When I started my personal style blog “K on the Bay” in 2012, I snapped shots of my hometown, sunsets, and my shoes.

If I could tie in a few local brands or thrifty finds, great! As a simple Tumblr site, my vision was to show how classic style and nature go hand-in-hand. As the years went on, I became more conscious of my content. I began taking photos to get the post out quickly, ignoring my initial creative vision and love for the process.

When it was authentic for me to put on an outfit, head into work, and snap shots along Grand Traverse Bay, great! Yet once I moved to New York City, it became a chore. I started to shift my focus from creative endeavors to relationships, which also served a good purpose- for the time.

Not only did I never wear heels unless absolutely necessary, I barely wore color, either.

NYFW 2014 with Dallas and Jacey


Then, I realized I was wearing clothes to make other people happy: not me.

The brands, the designers, the ad agencies- I was leaving behind my own vision to adapt to someone else’s.

I had to take a step back and think- what clothes do I feel good in no matter what?

What do I grab first out of my closet?

Although it wasn’t organic or natural for me to snap daily outfit shots in a busy city like New York- especially when I was single with a self-timer- I still had a lot of thoughts. I started writing for my friend Ashley’s website, Kinda Kind, two months after I mysteriously hit “delete” on my blog New Year’s Eve 2016. Leaving behind four years of photos, collaborations, and memories may have been hard, but I was ready to leave behind my materialistic past and figure out what truly made me happy.

My last few months in NYC were challenging- it was pure survival mode. Trump was running for President, the #MeToo movement was a year and a half away, and my own mental health needed a serious break.

I found peace in the park and spent hours writing by the reservoir. I pondered the meaning of life, wondering if I would ever find any sort of fulfillment.

I spent the next few years writing about my journey, what makes me happy, and learned who I am as a woman- without any distractions. Being conscious of what brings me joy- not what commercials, “influencers,” or Cosmopolitan Magazine tells me- was the first step in finding inner peace.

Instead of spending Saturday morning in bed, I would get up and take a walk across the Charles River Esplanade. I began noticing the patterns in nature, the animals at the park, and the familiar faces at my Cambridge Starbucks.

As I documented my path in Boston, I realized how tied I still was to fashion- at least, the creative process.

I had a different style than the other fashion bloggers- simple photos with little to no written content- no ads or frills, and no promises of a brighter tomorrow if you buy a new lipstick shade. This didn’t make me popular. That wasn’t the point- the point was authenticity.

As I shot a photo of my new bracelet alongside my notes for the day and coffee cup, I realized how fashion, technology, AND mindfulness can merge- but not in the way you may think.

I’ve been creating my own style for some time now, a style that hasn’t changed much since I was a high school junior in a black turtleneck and gray Express mini skirt. It’s always been basic, classic, and chic- with a few added surprises.

Fashion doesn’t have to be complicated to be beautiful, and neither do our lives. My time spent away from working in fashion made me realize how what I’ve learned can add to the industry once again- and never to change the style that is mine.

When I used to work or consult for others, my soul would be crushed when they didn’t like my content. After spending hours coming up with ideas, it could be a challenge to integrate my vision with someone else’s.

As an independent person, this also made me realize- stop working with people who don’t share your vision.

Although some women on the outside may judge me for choosing a bike over a Lexus, renting a townhouse instead of having a mortgage, and choosing a cat over a husband and kids- I chose this lifestyle for a reason.

I’m free.

I am free from obsession with “things,” the need for more, and the warped view that I’m not enough.

Now, I can simply enjoy the creative process- mindfully.

The Mindful in Style inspiration board 💛

Categories
self discovery

Expressing Your Inner Goddess

We all have a Goddess inside of us.

We all have our own special inner powers, passions, and purposes to live out, but we have been conditioned to listen to our doubts, fears, and insecurities.

It’s time to let that Goddess shine.

I’m not suggesting you throw a Goddess party, wear a flower crown, or to book a retreat.  Those things are fun, but they don’t have anything to do with who you are- the strong, beautiful woman who has endless gifts to offer the world around them.

Divine feminine energy embraces intuition, inner wisdom, and the ability to both give and receive.  Strong and confident women are secure in who they are, lift others up, and know the importance of self-care.  They don’t have to overpower others to prove their point; they have a quiet power that shines through their everyday actions.

So, are you wondering how to start embracing your own Goddess within?

1. Leave your ego at the door

You don’t have anything to prove to anyone but yourself.

2. Open your heart

You may think it’s safer to keep it closed, but magical things happen when you’re open to receiving.

3. Love yourself without judgment

No one is perfect, and that is what makes us unique!

Embracing your inner Goddess is all about letting your authentic nature free and finally allowing your light to shine.

Somewhere along the road our spirit was crushed.  It may have been a parent’s divorce, childhood trauma, bullying, or a broken heart.  Maybe someone told us our dreams were foolish, or perhaps we were conditioned to think we weren’t good enough.

As adults, we can heal those wounds and go back to our original state of joy, dreams, and delight.  We can let go of what the world around us has said and start listening to ourselves.

From living beautifully every day to knowing the importance of setting boundaries in your life, you don’t need anything outside of yourself to embrace the Goddess within.

She knows the way- you just need to start listening to her.

For more Goddess goodness, please check out Emma Mildon’s “Evolution of a Goddess.” It’s such a great book, and I’m a total “Moon.”

Categories
self discovery

Nothing Will Go Away Until It Teaches Us What We Need To Know

Running away from my problems used to be my favorite coping mechanism.

I can still fall prey to this old bad habit; I’ll hope people who bother me will disappear, or I will leave situations when I’m uncomfortable.  However, every time I do this the same people pop back up, and the same situations manifest in a different way… over and over again.

It’s a fact.

I could write about endless examples, but there’s one I have in mind which was so bitterly uncomfortable that I’m still surprised I got through it.  When I had a difficult roommate, I obviously thought the solution was to move.  To run away.  Despite receiving the silent treatment for weeks, I didn’t leave- and get this:

I was kind.

I still said “excuse me” when we would pass each other in the hallway, and I still tried to be considerate despite her obvious distaste for me.  Although I really had no idea what I had done wrong, I didn’t cower or run away- but I did later learn she had been secretly drinking.

It wasn’t even me that was the problem.

Old Kristin would have run away to avoid the feelings of rejection, discomfort, and anger- but New Kristin dealt with the situation, stuck to her guns, and now has a much better living situation because she stuck with it.

Completing things you started can be difficult- especially for someone like me who hates to be uncomfortable.  If you were to ask me in an interview today if I am a “team player,” I would probably stop lying and tell them I work best independently.  The truth is, I’m not a team player- I’m one of those kids who got frustrated in school and did the entire project themselves.  As a control freak and type-A person, I kept trying to do everything myself, over and over again, and do it MY way.

But those bad roommates will keep coming along, and so will team assignments.  It’s up to you to choose how to handle them today.

Maybe I do work best independently, and I look forward to the day I don’t have roommates anymore.  Nevertheless, as long as I remain teachable and willing to put down my ego and learn to live life differently than I used to, I’ll be just fine.

Categories
self discovery

A Mindful Weekend

Every Monday morning, people ask, “did you do anything fun this weekend?”

They usually expect a grand answer.  With the exception of my old party days, my weekends are always pretty quiet.  I wake up early to explore the city, take pictures, write, and do a little shopping.  I indulge in coffee, see a few new spots, and do a lot of walking (Saturday alone was 12 miles!).  

My weekends are sacred to me; they’re my time to recharge, reset, and do the things I love.

I’m the rare breed of human who loves solo dining, going to a movie by myself, and exploring alone- not only because I am comfortable in my own company, but because I can truly be in the moment and enjoy the beauty around me.

I used to think I had to change to fit into other people’s lives, but I have finally realized that they’re the ones who need to be able to fit into mine.

I’m grateful to have wonderful people in my life who do fit- and these days, I don’t have to go to a major event or fill my time with activities just so I don’t feel alone.

I am already home within myself.

Categories
self discovery

Living Authentically

According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, authenticity is derived from the natural self, while inauthenticity is a result of external influences.  You know- the ego, societal expectations, and materialism.

So, what is your natural self?

When you stop holding onto the fear of what others think of you, the magic starts to happen:

Authenticity begins.

When you live your life authentically, things start to fall into place.  The right people and opportunities effortlessly find their way to you.  The weight of the world seems to fall away.

For years I tried to water down the person I was due to fear of what people had to say about me.  I would tone down my message, hold back my truth, or justify simple things simply because of what others may think.

Often times, I had no real evidence of what they were actually thinking.

As I began to accept the person I am, I stopped considering the opinions of others.  Sure, it is important for me to be kind and considerate, but I also know when I need to set personal boundaries.  I stopped trying to fit in and embraced what fits for me.

I wrote this back in 2017, when I began my journey of giving less F’s about everything else and caring more about me:

When you’re in alignment with the person you are meant to be, you won’t fit in like you did before.  You will see the world much clearer, more serene, and with a sense of purpose.  The noise from the outside world will no longer affect you so much and you will begin to find ways to improve the world around you, not complain about it.  As you continue to discover your true self, remember that the positives far outweigh the negatives.  Although it can be uncomfortable at first, keep doing you- you’ll thank yourself later. 

If you’ve spent years trying to please everyone around you, here’s the sign you need to break the habit and start remembering the most important person of all: yourself.

Categories
self discovery

Being An Introvert Isn’t Isolating

Today I decided to debunk one of the biggest introvert misconceptions of all:

That introversion and isolation are the same thing.

I shared a status on Facebook from four years ago, when I lived in a doorman building on the Upper West Side.  Every time I walked in, and every time I went on the elevator to my 6th floor apartment, I had to make small talk.

Every.  Time.

Sure, it’s nice to be greeted or to have someone acknowledge you, but sometimes, believe it or not, you just want to walk in, go upstairs, and be left alone.  So, I would keep my sunglasses on, pretend I was talking on the phone, or keep walking straight to avoid the small talk.

After sharing my status from 2015, my best friend from my hometown commented:

“Thank you for this.  I cannot stand small talk, I would rather not say anything at all!”

She gets me.

Even though we live over 1,000 miles apart, those are the connections that mean so much to me- I would rather have quality friends who understand me than a large number of people who don’t.

Some people gain energy from other people, and others gain energy from being alone.  That’s the difference between an extrovert and an introvert.  In a city like New York or Boston you’re constantly surrounded by so many people, being stimulated left and right, that it’s easy for an introvert to get drained.

This is why I spend so much time in the park, outside, and journaling by myself.  Whether I’m reading by the river or hanging out at home with the cat, my recharge time is extremely sacred, and necessary, to maintain my sanity.

It’s completely different than isolating.

I’m positive that the world around me would rather have a recharged, calm Kristin than a snappy, reactive one- and that latter is what you’ll get if I don’t have ample alone time.

Dedicated to my fellow introverts and Rachel, who *always* gets me, no matter where in the world we are.

Categories
conscious living mindful at work

More Meditation, Less Medication

0In this day and age, there seems to be a pill for everything.  Not only are people running to their doctors for relief, the providers themselves are over-prescribing, patients are misusing their prescriptions, and often times, they become addicted to their medication.

Depression and anxiety are two of the most common disorders, which are treated by a variety of medications- some addictive, some not.  Although antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills can be helpful, they don’t solve the biggest problem- the root cause of the discomfort.

Researchers and a growing number health care professionals are encouraging patients to practice meditation in addition to their medical treatment and therapy.  Although many disorders are a chemical imbalance, most don’t consider how meditation can help re-wire their brain.

What if treatment facilities and doctors prescribed more meditation, and less medication?

I’ve had anxiety throughout my life, which is something I’ve never been treated for.  My social anxiety was so terrible growing up that it caused me to eat lunch in the library when I didn’t know who to sit with, skip classes or school events, and, as soon as I began college, I started drinking heavily to self medicate.  I may not have taken pills to relieve my discomfort, but I drank my worries away so I wasn’t aware of my surroundings.

I eventually went to therapy and tried antidepressants to keep my depression in check.  I didn’t take the medicine long enough to know whether or not it helped me- life situations had improved and I was abstinent from alcohol- but I also added something else to my life:

Mindfulness and meditation.

Between therapy, group support, and meditation, my anxiety and depression have been alleviated. I learned that spending more time inward was the solution to my issues.  If you break down depression and anxiety, it’s quite simple:

Depression is living in the past, and anxiety is living in the future.

Living in the present is being happy.

Whether you choose to medicate or not, consider adding meditation to your daily routine.  There are many apps that can get you started if you’re a newbie to the practice, such as Calm and Headspace, and even a variety of YouTube videos to guide you along your way.  Meditation has changed my life, and I know it can change yours, too.

photo-46

Categories
conscious living mindful at work

A Stop on My Journey of Life

Life is a journey, not a destination.

My life has been a colorful compilation of cities, jobs, career changes, haircuts, boyfriends, and even a fiancé in the suburbs.

I’ve never been one to label myself- in fact, the only consistent label I’ve had is “writer.” When people ask what I write about, I tell them a variety of things, as I don’t limit myself to one specific topic, either. As we grow, we evolve- and so do our interests, passions, and gifts to offer the world.

At 34 years old, I’ve lived in seven different states, the most recent being my two and a half year Boston experience. Many people ask me if I plan on staying, in which I answer, “yes.”

The truth is, I don’t know what my future holds- but what I do know is that I’m making the most of each and every moment.

Every day is simply a stop on my journey of life- and I wouldn’t have it any other way.