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 💛

Enjoying a Quiet Life

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As I sipped my morning coffee and watched the rain fall, an article from Elephant Journal appeared in my news feed:

It’s Okay to Want to Live a Slow & Quiet Life.

How often do you question if the life you are currently living is the life that feels most authentic to you?

One of the biggest questions I’ve mulled over the last eight months is, “What kind of life do I really want?”

As I pick through the versions of the lives I’ve lived over the last 15 years, what I keep coming back to is a life founded on simplicity. The life that resonates the most with me was a time I lived on a 50-acre vineyard and farm. My days felt like molasses—a slow, steady, and sweet flow.

It was a life of less in many ways but full of so much more richness because I was away from the busyness of life that is easy to get caught up in. I had time to experience the slow beauty of what was around me, the warm, summer breeze weaving between the apple trees, the distance cries from my flock of sheep, and green grass as it tickled my feet when I walked in it.

Amanda Whitworth

As I read the author’s experiences and journey to simplicity, I resonated with each word.  Being present is a beautiful thing, and could never be beat by bright lights or fast-paced glamour.

The reaction I usually get when people hear I moved back to Michigan is usually “wow, what a change” or “you must be bored.”

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Even in Boston I spent a lot of time to myself and in quiet reflection.  I enjoyed days in the park writing and walked thousands of miles, just snapping photos and listening to music.  My life didn’t have any of the luxuries I was taught would make me feel “complete.”

I embraced what was right in front of me.

Although I used to spend my time going out, dating, and finding chaos, I couldn’t imagine living my life that way anymore.  There’s nothing I enjoy more than going home to a quiet apartment, reading a good book, or finding solace in nature.

Simplicity has become a big part of my life, and taking on the “less is more” mentality has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders.

It doesn’t take much to be happy when you’re happy within.  That’s the best gift of all.

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Five Ways To Live A High Vibe Life

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I’m a big believer that life is what you make it.

Circumstances may not always seem to get better on the outside, but we do– we have the choice to change within, and to grow stronger from the challenges life throws our way.

There have been a variety of things that have helped my life improve over the past couple of years.  Happiness is cumulative; we don’t magically become content overnight, but each and every day we have the opportunity to add positive things that will build over time.

Start Your Day With An Intention

Having a mental map of what you want to accomplish each morning is important to start the day on the right foot.  Do you intend to be kinder?  Are you hoping to be more grateful?  Would you like to remain mindful?

Maybe your intention is small, but it’s important to remember it throughout the day.  It could make all the difference in turning a frustrating day into a beautiful one!

Eat Clean

Giving up meat and most processed foods has been a slow-go; although I have dabbled with going meatless for the last few of years, it wasn’t until recently that I took it seriously.  Boy, does clean eating change things.

My energy has sky rocketed, workouts are more enjoyable, and I’m doing my part to help the environment.

Stay In Your Lane

This was the best advice anyone has ever given me.  When you get into the middle of someone else’s drama (especially when it doesn’t pertain you), you’re immediately sucked into their low vibes.

Sometimes we try and be “fixers,” and that’s totally okay- but know your limits.  It’s great to want to help people, but understand when it’s time to step back.

Gossip in general is low vibe energy, and remember- when you point the finger, there’s three pointing back at yourself.  Many use gossip as a bonding tool (haven’t we all?), but it’s some of the most harmful and hurtful types of bonding there can be.  Be mindful of the company you keep- are they benefiting and enriching your life, or causing you chaos?

Make Time For Joy

As you go about your daily commute, stop and smell the flowers.  Take the time to go in for that latte.  Play in the sprinklers.  Enjoy the sunset.

The most simple pleasures are sometimes to most beneficial- remember not to take them for granted.

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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.

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.

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.

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

Calm in the Chaos

Taxi cabs, loud voices, and the shoving of people in a crowd- it sometimes seems impossible to stay calm in life’s chaos. There’s two types of chaos I can experience in my daily life- the hustle of the city and the ongoing stimulation of others around me.

At times, I would simply like to sit quietly by the water or live in a place without so many people or complications- yet my heart lies in the city.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about staying calm through the chaos life can bring. From gossip to managing room of students, both my personal and professional life can wear me down at the blink of an eye.

So, how does one keep their balance?

Somehow I have managed to retreat to my own little world- a world where I am limitless, peaceful, and content. A world where I find solace in my creativity, music, and nature. A world where I am able to communicate with something much bigger than me. A world where I live with purpose.

So, whether you’re frazzled at work or in the middle of an argument, remember to take a deep breath and look within. You’ll be surprised at the solace and can find within yourself.