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
empowerment little Golden Words mindful at work

Dream Big: Turning Blog Posts Into A Solid Foundation

Along the path of life, people may misunderstand your journey or doubt your dreams.

When I decided to move to San Francisco in 2008, months before the stock market crashed and prior to a publicly traded Facebook, an acquaintance scoffed at me saying, “well, that will be cheap.”

Within two weeks of this comment, I got a job at a popular tech startup downtown SF and was living in a rent-controlled apartment in Laurel Heights- even less than what some friends in Metro Detroit were paying- because for me, it’s always about thinker smarter, not harder.

What would have happened if I would have taken his comment to heart?

What would have happened in the course of my life had I held back from my cross- country moves, calling off a wedding, quitting jobs I was selling my soul for, or walking away from people who didn’t value me-

all because of what someone who barely knows me had to say?

Had I not moved to SF, I never would have gotten homesick the next year and moved to Austin. I wouldn’t have met some amazing people in Texas who I’m still in touch with today, and I probably wouldn’t have decided to move back to San Francisco had I not lived such a great life the first time around.

But in 2010, I was different. I had discovered blogging, sharing my stories online, and documenting my daily activities. I realized how powerful connection is- and how you don’t have to be involved in a local community to feel a sense of home; home is wherever you feel understood. 

People doubted the San Francisco Giants that year, too. But we all know how that turned out. Fall of 2010, I drove back to the city after a work trip in Lake Tahoe, high on life after quitting an office manager job in data security. With my rental car windows down and the music on, I felt free- but I didn’t know what the rocky road of creative freedom would bring months and years into this journey.


The same person who mocked my California move asked to meet with me years later about marketing his company, as he saw my work and experience from San Francisco.

I couldn’t work with someone who once doubted me.

Over the years, I learned an important lesson the hard way: You don’t need to try to explain or justify anything to anyone when you make choices in life! Those who resonate with your path will find you- but it’s not your job to explain. 

You can simply show them.

For now, try to ignore the negative or fear-based distractions and keep aiming high- the only limitation you have is what others try to project onto you- and what you believe. ✨ You have your own foundation to build upon.


The “Dream Big, Darling” rock was created from a post I wrote back in 2017, inspired by a Primark sweatshirt and a day planner from the Harvard Coop.

Categories
self discovery

The Beauty of True Friendship

75481882_10108051213894828_4068440954053328896_n

It’s clear that Traverse City has beauty, charm, and so much to offer.

Since moving home last Tuesday, I have loved strolling the streets, revisiting my favorite spots, and snapping photos of the new art.

But the best part about being home are the relationships I have been able to have once again.

I had no idea how much my friends cared over the years- and how worried they were about me as I bounced from city to city.  They knew I hid my loneliness.  They were concerned about my alcoholism.  They were sad to learn I spent holidays by myself.

I didn’t even realize I was missed- but now I do.

I’ve had some of the most priceless experiences with old friends this past week, meaningful conversations, and re-connection with people I have known since I was 12 years old.  I have filled my calendar with coffee and lunch dates, received hilarious Marco Polo videos from one of my best friends navigating motherhood, and have bumped into former coworkers.  Wanting to help me in any way they can, I have felt more love this past week than I have in years.

These are the people who knew me before I thought I had to put on a mask.

My mask of strength was a tool to keep me safe from the world- and to keep me from getting hurt.

Today, I finally know who I am- and that I don’t have to hide from good friends.  I don’t have to hide who I am here in Traverse City- I can simply be me.

Taking a deep breath of relief, I am beyond grateful I could fly home and show my face- and what is in my heart.

Categories
self discovery

Check On The Strong Ones

You never know what someone else is going through.

Last summer, while living in Boston, my life seemed fantastic. I was working at a law firm downtown, living in a cute studio, and smiling for photos.

I visited friends in New York City, went to museums, enjoyed baseball games, and wore designer clothes.  I spent days in the Public Garden and wrote inspirational blog posts- yet what most people didn’t know was that I was on the verge of the unraveling of my final year in Boston.

Society spends so much time comparing our own lives to other people- but we only know part of their story.

We check Facebook to see what our friends are doing on vacation, we compare our jobs, and we make up stories in our own minds as to what someone’s life is truly like.  We see people and their seemingly perfect families, adorable kids, and handsome husbands.

This is a reminder to check on those who seem to have it all together- the strong ones who may not seem to need help at all.

I never wanted to admit I needed help, that I was lonely, or that I was unsure of where my life was going.  Thankfully, I realized that I can’t write a story that wasn’t meant for me.

Now that I am back in Michigan, I can reflect on the good times, the bad, and have immense gratitude for surviving (and thriving!) through everything I experienced.

Remember to check on those friends who seem like they have it all together- because each story has its own twists and turns.

Categories
conscious living

Simple Pleasures

The best things in life are free.

The older I get, the more I enjoy time to myself, strolling the streets, and taking in all the beauty around me.

As a city dweller, it’s easy to become conditioned to more- more action, more material things, and more excitement. However, with so much to see and so many beautiful things to take in, it doesn’t take any money or resources to have a wonderful day- just simple awareness.

I’m grateful to be able to stop and smell the roses- with a little mindfulness and gratitude, you’ll see that the simple pleasures in life truly are the best.

Categories
conscious living mindful at work

Positive People: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

“Stay positive” has been a common term loosely used in day-to-day life, often by people who say they’re positive, yet act the opposite. Although the power of our thoughts and words are a major component in personal growth, the way one acts around others plays an even bigger part in the Power of Positivity.

Positive thinkers aren’t just people who avoid negative thoughts- they are people who know how to handle the negativity rather than avoiding it.

So, what else makes a person positive? Over the years I’ve thought about this quite often- especially when navigating my own challenges in life. Here are a few things I’m still working on myself, and may even help you along your own journey.

They Go With The Flow

Positive thinkers know they can’t control each and every situation. Instead of causing a fit when things don’t go their way, they find meaning and lessons in everyday life.

They Grow From Experiences

Have you ever noticed how the same challenges pop up in your life, but manifest in different forms? Whether it’s the sexist boss or the obnoxious roommate, you’ll continue to encounter these people until you learn how to handle them in a new, more productive way. The universe is funny like that.

They Admit When They’re Wrong

Positive thinkers are able to push their egos aside. They know when and how to be humble, and are comfortable admitting their shortcomings- especially when it affects the feelings of those around them.

They Know How to Say No

This is extremely important- setting healthy boundaries can be crucial to maintaining friendships and honoring one’s own self care. People pleasing may seem like the easier route, but will wear you out in the long run. It’s better to be honest and say “no” than to build resentments.

They Don’t Change Around Other People

Positive thinkers stay true to themselves around everyone in their life. They hold strong to their opinions, but don’t take offense when others don’t agree.

It takes a lot of practice to handle negative people or situations, but when you discover your truth- and walk in it- your life flows more effortlessly. You will no longer take everything so personally, not will the opinions of others matter so much.

When you love you, magical things start to happen.

“She’s already had everything she needs within herself. It’s the world that convinced her she did not.” -Rupi Kaur

Categories
self discovery

Year 34

Today I turned 34.

Yes, it’s my birthday!

Some people may dread getting older, but I welcome it with open arms. As each new year of my life approaches, I feel grateful for all I have learned, everything I’ve experienced, and for another trip around the sun.

As an old soul, I always felt wise beyond my years. I finally feel I am catching up to how I feel inside. Perhaps some of you can relate to that.

It wasn’t an easy year, but it was a year full of growth. I’m thrilled to say hello to 2019, and all of the exciting new chapters I’m about to write.

Here’s to year 34!

Categories
mindful at work self discovery

Life Works On It’s Own Timeline

Being stuck on the train is always a good time to start a new post.

Appropriately, this made me start to think about patience.

2018 has been yet another year for self discovery, picking yourself back up, and learning to think differently in this crazy world we live in. In January I set out with big hopes and dreams, got discouraged when they didn’t work out fast enough, and lost hope- briefly.

Then, at the end of August, I realized an important lesson: life has other plans for me.

Instead of looking at the outside to determine my success and worth, I began to look even deeper within.

I found myself going back to teaching this past fall while I continue to write, work on myself, and help others learn to live their best life. I hadn’t expected to start teaching again, but the opportunity appeared right when I least expected it.

We try so hard to perfectly plan each move we make, only to find that life works on its own timeline. Each detour provides a lesson to react differently than we have in the past, whether it’s a stopped train in Cambridge or coping with a loss.

As I work with others in every area of my life, I’m grateful for all the lessons I’ve learned in 2018 and try to implement them on a daily basis. On some days I learn patience with students, and on others I learn to let unkind words roll off my back.

Life certainly does have its own timeline, and it’s my job to make the most of everything it brings my way.