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
conscious living

Being Grateful for What We Have- Re-Thinking Fashion After the Coronavirus

My closet at my Airbnb in Medford, 2016


When I started writing on this blog, I was beginning a journey of living more mindfully and minimally.

Trump was yet to be inaugurated, Henri Bendel still existed, and I had spent the past ten years trying to keep up with everyone around me.

It was long before J. Crew and now, Neiman Marcus, filed bankruptcy- and our society was still plagued with the need for “more.” Perhaps we still are.

As a woman who has been on a recovery voyage (I say voyage because no sea is without a few storms) since 2011, I’ve seen a lot. I’ve had everything, and I’ve had nothing.

Although I used to think “more” was the way to go, my path of fashion blogging, the lack of authenticity in influencer marketing, and my own experience working with others has lead me to one conclusion:

Quality is far superior to quantity.

Style, to me, is about doing what works for you- mindfully. I shared my thoughts about the future of fashion and how mindfulness, style, technology, and social good can merge.


I look forward to your thoughts!

My closet today, Traverse City

Categories
conscious living mindful at home

Without the Show, This is Humanity

Today I came across this soothing shot, taken spring 2015 on 98th Street outside my Upper West Side apartment. 

Without the restaurants, shows, and Fifth Avenue shops, what is New York City?

Without the downtown bookstores, film crews, quirky dives, coffee shops, and comedy clubs, what is New York City? 

Without the tourism, the busy streets, the style, and the glamour, what is New York City?

New York City is humanity. 

New York City is quiet days of reflection in the park. It’s sitting on a bench and watching the squirrels.  It’s the creatives and the dreamers. It’s laughter and joy.

It’s clapping outside your window to honor the healthcare workers who have put their own health on the line. 

New York City is coming together. 

The best memories I have of my years in New York City weren’t the clothes I wore or the food I ate. It wasn’t the guys I dated or the celebrities I met. As much as I loved the entertainment and the opportunities, I also embraced the solitude; the anonymity combined with the feeling of never being alone. 

The best memories were the moments I learned, grew, and connected- and shared stories with others who felt just as lost, broken, yet hopeful as I did.

Without the show, New York City is full of soul.

The show will eventually go on, but with a different tone. After this time of reflection, uncertainty, loss, and fear, there will also be growth. There will be realizations.

Humanity will come together again, and hopefully, we notice those bright lights and glittery scenes in a new, healthier way.

Categories
self discovery

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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Categories
conscious living mindful at home mindful at work

Being Mindful of Your Social Media Consumption

I recently went through a major social media purge.

As I strolled through Copley Square checking my morning feed, I noticed how many irrelevant posts popped up on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Invitations to events across the country. Photo comments from people I hadn’t met. Accounts I followed that haven’t been used for years. From fashion brands to people I briefly knew in college, I wondered, “do I need to be seeing this?”

We underestimate how much the internet and media can flood our brains.

In my daily mindfulness practice, it’s also important for me to be mindful of what I consume online, too.

In one of my previous lives I was a fashion blogger, where I connected with brands, big and small, from all over the world. In one of my earlier pieces, “How a Fashion Blogger Became Minimalist,” I wrote about my shift in priorities, stressing the importance of quality over quantity, finding a signature style, but most importantly- finding happiness within.

Although I will never give up my love for style, it no longer makes me feel whole. I stopped looking at what everyone else “had,” and began finding happiness in my own world; not the world that someone portrays through a lens. This also goes for any social media use.

Whether it’s fashion, a lavish vacation, or a family photo, it’s been important for me to remember that looks can be deceiving. While I hope everyone feels content in their own skin, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Instead of focusing on what everyone else is doing, get out there, enjoy the simple pleasures, and create your own mindful life that you love.

Categories
self discovery

“Stuff” Doesn’t Feel Like a Burden Anymore

But it sure did for a while.

Unsettled and at the very bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, things that once brought me joy eventually felt like a heavy load.

It was, too- literally. I had dozens of boxes and car loads, furniture and donations. It was organized chaos (most of the time, anyway).

Thankfully, throughout my moves and transitions, my family and friends were extremely helpful. I was running from one thing to the next looking to find peace, not knowing I had to stand still for a while to find happiness within.

That said, I’m starting to acquire things. I own some furniture. I bought an extra pair of sunglasses I don’t even need. I feel settled, content, and at peace- at last.

Even if it were all to go away, I would still be okay- for now I know true home is within.

I wish this for everyone- as well as a life of purpose, not chasing. Of living, not waiting. A life meant to be enjoyed, not numbed out or run away from.

I hope you have a beautiful Saturday. 😎

Categories
conscious living mindful at home

Simple Glam- Making the Most of a Small Space

Over the weekend I gave my bathroom a makeover.  Despite living minimally, I’ve made an effort to give my humble abode a few little luxuries.

It’s not always easy to make an old room look shiny and new!  Ever since moving into my first San Francisco apartment ten years ago, I’ve grown accustomed to outdated (and overpriced) spaces that need a creative touch.  Although my bathroom wasn’t that bad, it definitely needed a little face lift.

Knowing I had blue tiles and plastic light fixtures to work with, I wanted to go for a clean, simple look.  As I was browsing through Marshalls, I stumbled across a sea-stripe shower curtain by Kate Spade– and although it wasn’t what I had initially been looking for, it was perfect for a New England girl.

Decorating Tip #1~ Find a staple piece and work everything else around it.

Now that I had my theme, I was ready to accessorize.  I had been living bare-bones since moving in; mismatched towels, a broken towel hook, and an old shower curtain had been holding me over these past seven months.  Needless to say, it was time to show the room some love.

I picked up the necessities- matching towels, a towel hook, bathmat, and a couple accessories to warm up the space.  It took me three days and several stores to find the perfect shades of blue, but once I made it to Primark, my search was over.  For just $26, I got two new bath towels, two hand towels and a bath mat- all to perfectly match my shower curtain.

Organization is huge for me.  I no longer keep “extras” in my house, either- if it’s old, broken, or useless, I toss it.  Long are the days of hoarding old nail polish, extra eyeshadow shades, or almost-gone lipstick.

Decorating Tip #2~ When arranging things, be sure they’re in a logical area- separate items such as lotions, beauty tools, perfumes, etc.  Not only will your area be tidy, it will be much easier to find everything!

It’s amazing what a few tiny touches can do!  In addition to this weekend’s purchases, I refurbished and reorganized a few things I already had.  I moved a few pictures on the wall, painted the vanity trim gold, and re-purposed a jewelry stand to hold my lotions.  With rose-gold accents and Tiffany-blue trimming, my chic and simple bathroom was complete.

Decorating Tip #3~ You don’t need to buy new everything- just move things around!

So, when all was said and done, I completed my bathroom makeover for under $70.  How did I do it?  Here’s the breakdown:

Shower Curtain: Marshalls, $20

Hand Towels: Primark, 2 pack, $13

Towels: Primark, 2 pack, $7

Bath Mat: Primark, $6

Over-the-Door Hanger: TJ Maxx, $6

Decorative Tree: Target, $6

Jar: Marshalls, $2

Candle: Marshalls, $6

Total Bathroom Makeover: $66.00

Not bad for a small space, is it?

Categories
self discovery

City Inspiration

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It was an absolutely lovely, refreshing weekend.  With no plans other than to relax, read, and spend Easter Sunday with one of my girl friends, I settled into my cozy apartment and made a cup of black coffee.

As the Saturday sunshine filled my room, I got ready for the day and headed into Boston to run a few errands, enjoy a stroll by the harbor, and snap a some photos.  There’s nothing I love more than exploring the city, coffee in hand, with music in my earbuds as the soundtrack to my solo adventure.

Those are the days I get the most inspiration.

It’s no secret I’m an introvert, but some of my very best weekends are the ones I spend by myself.  I never leave home without a notebook, pens, and a fully charged phone- it’s important to always be prepared!

Sipping my coffee while window shopping, a sketch of the Boston skyline caught my eye.  Although the picture was in black and white, I thought, “why not paint the town gold?”

It’s been nearly a year since I started painting gold canvases, yet Saturday was the very first time I had ever thought to draw scenery.  Now that I am nearly finished with my first skyline piece, I’m wondering, “what next?!”  Whether it’s an uplifting phrase or positive word, it’s helpful to have little reminders throughout your space to symbolize things that make you smile.

Although I don’t have to go far to get inspired, it’s nice to bring a little bit of the city home with me.  Whether in black and white or gold, I’m grateful to live in such a beautiful place.

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