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

Quick, Curious, Playful, and Strong

Clinch Park Marina, Traverse City
2013 ShopStyle Campaign
Cherry Capital Airport
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Central Park Stroll
Remembering Kate Spade

Thank you Katy for all of the moments of style and inspiration.

May we continue to live colorfully and curiously. 💞✨

When One Door Closes, Another Door Opens: Embracing Endless Opportunity (Even When You’re In Limbo)

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It’s funny how having faith in the unknown can be one of the most comforting feelings.  Even though it’s hard to be in “limbo,” having endless possibilities is both exciting and encouraging.

“The benefit of having little clue as to what is happening in one’s life is the possibility that something amazing is right around the corner.”

My friend Ashley tweeted this quote a few years ago, which has become my go-to any time I feel discouraged.  In the five years I’ve known Ashley, we’ve both moved states multiple times, switched cities, changed boyfriends, left jobs, started websites, and one of us was even on a TLC dating show.

Needless to say, both of us have had little clue as to what was going on in our lives.

I’ve written for Ashley’s website Kinda Kind for two years now, and I’m ever-so-grateful to her for providing a platform for me to segway into writing about mindfulness and self improvement.  Two months before my first Kinda Kind post I accidentally deleted my fashion blog; even though I have no idea how it happened (not to mention my initial mini meltdown), it was a breath of fresh air.  I was ready to get rid of my fashionista identity and wanted to start a writing career with substance.

It was also around that time in 2016 when I started to purge my possessions, focus on quality over quantity, and made meditation and mindfulness a top priority in my life.  2016 was an extremely rough year, but thanks to the struggles, I gained a whole new strength.  I had no idea that my challenges would result in a life of mindfulness and minimalism, but I’m sure glad it did.

Back in 2016, Ashley left San Francisco to move back to Chicago, and I left New York City- the place I thought was my heart- that July.  The year ended on a positive note with my move to Boston and a newfound optimism, faith, and zest for life.  I just knew there was something wonderful out there for me- and even though I didn’t know what it was, I was confident I would find it.

I’ve had a lot of changes since moving to Boston.  Over holiday break I started to re-think teaching, concerned about going a week without pay.  Although I adored it (with the exception of the biting and hitting), it was barely enough to cover my rent.  It’s a hard pill to swallow when you made 4X the money a decade ago, straight out of college.  I considered a part time job, but I knew it would be too stressful for me to manage it all.  So, with no idea what I would do, I continued to write, put in the legwork, and reach out to my connections.

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I’m proud of myself for how I handled my “limbo” phase.  Sure, I went hermit for a while and was a bit depressed, but I pulled myself out of it and re-gained my energy.

Once my energy was back it was time to start pounding the pavement.  Last Monday I spotted a post on Facebook from one of my San Francisco friends, looking for someone to hire for a part-time role.  It seemed perfect- an Austin-based fashion brand had a huge need for someone to help with messaging and customer communication.   By Thursday, I had a company email address and got started on my first projects.

It gets better.  The following day I met with a criminal defense law firm about a marketing and assistant role.  Some of you may know this, but most of you probably don’t- prior to marketing, I worked at a San Francisco law firm and studied for the LSAT.  On a warm spring day back in 2009 I walked over to the University of San Francisco to take the test- with absolutely no desire to actually go to law school.  I’m not sure what happened in those six months, but I was certain law school wasn’t in the cards.

Although I decided I didn’t want to be an attorney, I’ve always loved law firms.  I don’t know why- I think it partially has to do with the fact my father was a lawyer (I used to “help out” when I was a little tike), but also due the interesting nature of the cases.

Fast-forward to a week later, I officially have two jobs doing things I love, I’ll be working with great people, and will still have the time to write.  I couldn’t have planned this out more perfectly on my own, which just goes to show that worrying is a waste of time and energy.

It’s amazing what the Universe delivers when you have faith.  Ashley and I chatted about this the other day- now living in Los Angeles, she’s also looking for that “next step.”  As she grows her brand I offered to help in whatever way I can.  That said, I’m excited to share that I’ll be a regular contributor to Kinda Kind, focusing on self-improvement and relationships!  I’ll be sure to share the launch of the new website sections when they’re live.

I’m grateful to have someone in my life like Ashley.  She totally gets it when I share my life challenges- no judgement, no eye-rolls.  Both Capricorns yet free spirits, we have a million ideas in our heads, but sometimes it’s difficult to prioritize.  This is exactly why you just need to go with the flow of the Universe- one door may close, but there’s a shiny door waiting for you just down the road.  Trust me.

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Categories
conscious living

Meaning Over Materialism: My Break-Up With A Blog

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I’ve had my share break-ups over the years.  That newly single feeling is strange; while part of you is happy to be free, another feels a bit lost.  What will fill the new emptiness? A couple of years ago I experienced one of my worst break-ups of all:

I ended a long-term relationship with a blog.

It sounds funny, doesn’t it?  It all started as a hobby in 2011, right after my San Francisco years. With a basic layout and Instagram-fed posts, I began sharing photos of bayside scenes, outfits of the day, and what I had for lunch on a Tumblr account.  It was quick and simple- I didn’t bother with links or text, just photos.  After a couple of years it morphed into something completely different- it was a daily documentation of my personal style.

I loved my “photo journal.”  I felt every outfit, color, and scene I chose came together to tell a story, each for the reader to interpret.  Every morning I would use a self-timer app on my phone to capture my outfit of the day, always in front of an interesting backdrop or within nature.  The water was always my favorite place to shoot- hence the blog name, K on the Bay.  From photography and editing to merchandising and marketing, my blog was my baby.  It was also my identity- I could hide behind my signature shades and be whoever I wanted to be.  No one else in Northern Michigan was doing anything like it at the time, so I felt my progress and impact much more than I would have in a big city.  It was fun, and it felt good.

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After a while I started working with small companies and up-and-coming designers (often friends of mine), helping them promote their brands by providing content.  They’d give me clothes, and in return I would wear and style the pieces, provide photos, write-ups, and social media posts.  Once I started to get inquiries about collaborations with bigger or more expensive brands (pieces I probably wouldn’t have bought on my own), I made sure to throw in budget items and thrift store finds as usual.  I wanted my blog to be accessible for a creative, polished smart shopper.

I moved to New York in 2014 and was still blogging in full-force, but my creativity wasn’t up to par.  Taking photos without people in the background was nearly impossible and I hardly strayed away from my beloved all-black ensembles.  As I received more and more items that didn’t feel like “me,” I would whip up a post just to get the content out there, never to wear the pieces again.  I was going against everything I stood for: authenticity and meaning.  I was taking outfit photos for the sake of the photo, not because I felt strongly about the brand or actually wanted to share the pieces with others.  Doesn’t that completely discredit the entire concept of influencer marketing?

It’s crucial for me to do all things with meaning, or else I won’t put in the effort at all.  Blogging seemed more like a chore than a joy, and I could feel my passion rapidly fading.  My intuition continued to tell me it was time to focus on something new, and slowly but surely I started to realize how meaningless all of my “stuff” was.  I began downsizing after abruptly deleting my blog on New Year’s Eve 2015, started a new Tumblr, took more photos of the beautiful world around me and, most importantly, began writing from my heart.  I used to only be comfortable sharing what was on the surface- oh, how freeing it is share from the soul!

Earlier this year I wrote about how a fashion girl went frugal, which was picked up by Thought Catalog.  My transition into minimalism was a natural one that has lead me on a whole new path to spirituality, serenity, and self discovery.  Break-ups are inevitable, but there is one relationship that will always fill the void: the relationship with yourself.

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New Year’s Day 2016

Categories
conscious living

Live Beautifully Through the Heat

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Ah, summer.  As the temperature heats up and humidity sets in, this time of year can be a little stressful when you’re trying to keep cool.  Although we may feel like tossing our bras out the window and heading to the shore, everyday life doesn’t always permit such a luxury!

Although I love the beautiful East Coast summers, the heat can interfere with my zen and overall comfort level.  It’s difficult to feel polished and put together when you’re overheating on your way to work, stuck on public transit, or simply running errands in 90 degree air.

I recently found a new way to beat the heat in addition to smoothies, beach days and lounging on the front porch.  I discovered Warner’s colorful Play It Cool collection, which have been my go-to bras for the past couple of months.

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These bright bras come in a few different styles to give my basic black style a pop of color, while regulating my body temperature and keeping me comfortable!  I also love the wireless design and CHILL FX™ lining that wicks away moisture to keep me cool.

Thanks to bra fitter and lingerie expert Kimmay Caldwell, I also learned a few great tips to find the best fit and style for you, too.

  1. Make time to try on each bra before purchase. We know this is painful, but like breasts, one size can vary from the other.
  2. Re-Fit once a year. Whether you measure yourself or get a professional fitting, it’s important to stay in touch with your bust.
  3. Support from the bottom up. The majority of support comes from the band (not the straps!), so if it is not fitted properly, you may experience sagging or digging in. You should be able to slip two fingers underneath the back of the band if it fits properly.
  4. It’s normal for your bra to stretch out. Since bras are typically made of elastic, they will stretch over time. It’s best to start with the outermost rung on your new bra and as it wears, move to the middle, then the tightest.
  5. Don’t settle, don’t sacrifice!

Whether you’re looking for a new bra to compliment your wardrobe or are seeking a style to help with the heat, check out the Warner’s and Olga options for your own bra-blems.  You can find styles that are comfortable, eliminate sleevage and look great under clothes- even when you’re just relaxing at home.

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Thank you Warner’s and Kaplow for partnering with me on this post.