Over the past couple of months I’ve been having fun- I mean, a lot of fun- with my Instagram stories.
So, what do I talk about, you ask? Honestly, nothing really.
I walk around Boston and talk about my day. I laugh at funny things and hope you’re laughing right along with me. I show you cool things around the city, ask your advice on my style choices, and share my thrift store finds. I share things I learn from others. I connect- and that is what I love so much.
Whatever I happen to be doing, I am embracing every moment of every day.
Enjoying life is what living beautifully is all about, and I hope you join me in my journey!
A photo popped up on Facebook from a feature I was in on the former StyleList.com. Four years ago, in the height of my fashion blogger days, I was getting ready for my move to New York City. I had just escaped a bad relationship, where I had split my time between Traverse City, Charlotte, and San Francisco. Off to New York, I would go- I would start fresh, and my dreams would come true.
Or so I hoped.
Bright eyed in a midi skirt with a fresh new bob, this girl was off to her new life on the Upper West Side. Little did she know what was in store for her over the course of the next three years, though.
2014 was a magical year. Despite the challenges, the heartbreak, and the transitions- it was exciting. It was full of life. New York had yet to make me jaded, and my eyes were open to every possibility. Maybe too many possibilities!
Lately I’ve been getting back into that old mindset though- the mindset of living life with excitement. Viewing it as one big story. A big fairytale… where anything can happen.
The mindset of living life in color.
I’ve been stuck in black and white for so long that I almost forgot about the pinks and the reds. The yellow of the sun and the orange of my favorite baseball team. The bright opal sky on a warm spring night and the greens of the forest.
So that’s where I’m going to pick back up again- in color. Back to that girl in 2014 who was packing up three dozen boxes of clothes (no exaggeration) and accessories before shipping them to an uptown apartment she had never seen or been to before. Who got on that plane on a warm June day, on her way to a brand new life. That girl who walked into restaurants alone, ordered an Eggs Benedict, and would meet a cute stranger (true story).
That girl who was fearless.
Never, ever let anyone break you. Take the challenges as opportunities to grow even stronger, and instead of looking back with regret, be grateful for the ones who have made you tough.
I’ve fondly written about my peace lily, a little gem I picked up when I worked at One International. I initially bought the lily for my desk, but since then, it’s seen three apartments, survived public transit on multiple occasions, and has been brought back to life several times.
She’s a little champ.
So, knowing that I can successfully care for a plant (first a plant, then a pet, they say…), I decided to get another one. This actually wasn’t my idea- my mom mentioned it when I showed her a picture of a new trash can I bought to match my soap dispenser and comforter. Of course, I need to find something cute to do with a trash can, right?
I entertained her by putting my peace lily in the trash can (that sounds terrible), but we agreed it needed something taller. I continued to use the trash can as a, well, trash can, until last night- when I spotted a lonely lily at CVS.
Leave it to me to find the lone plant marked at 25% off. Dry and looking sad, I picked up the lily without question and headed to check out, along with my red lipstick, face masks, and popcorn. Hey, it was Friday night- and Friday nights are meant for vegging out.
Once I got home, I put everything away, gave my new lily some water, and set her in her new home. It was perfect! I read up on Easter Lilies and learned they’re known as joyful symbols of elegance, beauty, spirituality, hope, and life. How appropriate.
Even if we’re lost and lonely somewhere, there’s a place we will fit- and I feel that way about Boston. I’ve not only found myself, but I’ve started to be able to care for other things, too- and I have my two lilies to prove it.
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:
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.
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.
I used to get tied up in day to day monotony and focused on all of the things I “had” to do or “should” do.
This was especially prevalent in New York. I didn’t always stop to enjoy the beauty around me or the small details that bring each day joy.
My life was so chaotic that I didn’t enjoy the little things, such as sitting to enjoy a smoothie at Starbucks, journaling, listening to the birds, painting my nails to coordinate with my outfit, or taking pictures of the sunrise. I just rushed through life to get to the next moment. That’s no way to live.
After leaving NYC last summer, I lived with family by the lake in a small Michigan town, away from the modern conveniences of city living. It was the perfect “reset.” I enjoyed coffee in the backyard each morning, relaxed by the water, and actually enjoyed my meals- I stopped rushing and began to enjoy the moment.
That was when my true passion for mindfulness began.
When I started this blog in the beginning of December 2016, I wanted to combine my mindfulness lessons with my love for style and living beautifully. People have continually told me to relax and stop worrying about my makeup, outfit or hair- but those are things I enjoy. It’s a part of “living beautifully.”
I believe there’s a fine balance between relaxing and simply feeling good for you. Some days I want to run around in a baseball cap and flip flops, and others I want to wear my staple- the little black dress. It all depends on the day.
Living beautifully is about balance.
Life in Boston has provided a perfect mix of city life and mindful living, as this historic city is so diverse with beauty, culture, nature and sophistication. Mindful in Style came naturally to me after just six short days, and I’ve enjoyed writing about my life of mindfulness, minimalism, style and spirituality ever since.