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

Back to NYC

We all have a destiny, and I am moderately certain mine is growing old writing on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, sitting in Riverside Park, and going to Zabar’s.

Retirement #goals.

Tonight I’m heading back to spend the weekend in NYC with my dear friend Nicoline. We haven’t seen each other since a Camille Styles book signing at West Elm back in 2014. Nevertheless, it’s been a long time.

That fateful October was the last time the SF Giants won the World Series, which was how we met.  Over conversation, baseball, and mutual ex boyfriend, we had the same Hunter Boots on as we watched the game at a Finnerty’s on 2nd Street.

Ah, memories.

The one year of Joe’s passing is approaching on July 1st, and Nicoline and I have become closer than ever since.  I am sure he would find it hilarious that we are friends.  Although we dated the same guy at one point in time, we were able to see past it and be there for one another.  That is what life is all about- and I am grateful.

Although it won’t be our Giants, we are heading to Yankee Stadium to celebrate our reunion over baseball and brunch.  I can’t wait.

A weekend getaway is just what I need- to reflect on where I’ve been, where I’m at, and how far I have come.

🧡

Categories
self discovery

Hiding Behind the Skyscrapers and Dreams

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The beginning of the end of my New York era begins with a weekend in Hoboken.

Ah, memories.

It’s hard to believe it’s been two whole years since that Memorial Day.  It was my third time in New Jersey, second time in Hoboken, and first time eating a Taylor ham sandwich.  I had a week-long relationship with a Jersey boy, who had me over for a Memorial Day celebration which I ultimately ruined thanks to showing up late, drinking too much, and then sleeping through dinner- where I was supposed to make scallops.

Oops.

After two days across the river and one final goodbye to the Jersey boy, I took PATH back to the city on a bright Sunday morning, feeling empty inside.  Going home to no one, clueless as to what I would do with myself for the next two days, I immediately walked into an Astoria bar after taking the below picture.

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I hid my pain well- unless you were one of the few who saw the way I lived my life.

Although I was smiling in that photo, inside I was in pieces.  At that point I was almost ready to face myself and stop hiding behind the hustle and bustle, drinking and dates- but not quite.

New York is an easy place for dreamers to hide- but when those dreams are broken, it’s time to live in reality and create new ones.

I’m feeling grateful this Memorial Day to be able to make peace with my past.  I’m also grateful to finally say goodbye to the old Kristin- the Kristin who was so scared and alone.  The girl who ran toward comfort yet pushed it away.  The girl who wasn’t sure what she wanted, and didn’t know if she would ever find out.

The Jersey boy couldn’t fix me.  He wanted to try, but it only lasted seven days.  A job, apartment, friend, family member, or therapist couldn’t fix me, either.  I had to step out of the skyscraper shadow, look in the mirror, and fix myself.

and I am so glad I did.

“Manhattan. Sometimes from beyond the skyscrapers, across thousands of high walls, the fearful cry of a too-well-known voice finds you in your insomnia in the middle of the night, and you remember that this desert of iron and cement is an island of un-reality.”

-Albert Camus

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Categories
conscious living

Living Beautifully

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.

A rare moment of peace, thanks to Jacqueline de Ribes at the Anna Wintour Costume Center

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.

What does living beautifully mean to you?

Categories
self discovery

Roll the Dice

It’s hard to believe I left NYC one year ago today.  I remember that morning well- I was half packed, nervous and defeated.  I had been staying at a friend’s house with air conditioning because my tiny bedroom was full of boxes, humid and cramped.  I needed to be around other people to keep my mind off the decision I had made- to trade in my dreams of the New York hustle to create a more mellow, mindful life.

Although it wasn’t easy, it was one of the best decisions I could have made.  You can’t fit a square peg in a round hole, and I didn’t like the person I was becoming.  I had become cold and bitter, even when my work life was going well.  I vividly remember a hot afternoon walking down Fifth Avenue, pushing through people while trying to deposit a very nice paycheck into my bank account.  Money didn’t make me happy, nor did my surroundings.

I wanted peace.

Although I was able to find serenity in Central Park, along the Hudson River and at the New York Public Library, I stopped enjoying life day to day.  I figuratively “rolled the dice” and made the decision to leave.  It has been an interesting ride ever since that day in late July, and this morning I have been reflecting on how grateful I am and how far I have come.

I’ve never been nervous to make big decisions, but over the past year I have learned to focus on the moment and take life step by step.  Over the years I have continually looked at the “bigger picture,” not realizing that the simple choices I make in my day to day life can lead up to amazing things that I never would have pondered.  

My decision to move to Boston was one of the best I ever could have made.  It is the perfect balance between city life and mindful living; being along the ocean, the Charles River and lakes has brought me peace, while the opportunities I’ve been given have helped me practice living in the moment.

I’m still learning to slow down, focus on what I want, and let the universe do the rest.  If I am able to live in the moment, the fruits of my labor will be revealed in ways I couldn’t even imagine in my own mind- and I’m grateful to be present to notice them. 

Although I still hold New York near and dear to my heart, bigger, better, and faster isn’t something I need to implement in my daily life.  With a grateful heart, I’ll focus on the day, do the best I can and continue to live in the moment.  You never know when you’ll get lucky and roll a Yahtzee!

Categories
conscious living

Packing Light

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2016 began in a small apartment outside of Manhattan in Astoria, Queens. Although I had a large room, it came without one important thing- a closet. I improvised and managed to find a standing wardrobe that successfully stored everything I immediately needed- or so I thought.

Initially it was fun having everything I owned in sight; kind of like a store! Each morning I got to shop my own closet! The fun, however, wore off when that dreaded day came.

Moving day.

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Dresses and skirts and shoes, oh my. This doesn’t even appropriately depict the unmanageably of my “stuff;” the other half of my wardrobe was hidden in a hall closet and under the bed.

I moved to a smaller, more expensive apartment in June… I purged, I donated, I left behind. At that point I had packed everything I owned and headed down the street (three trips in an SUV, to be exact) to a space conveniently located two blocks from the NQ line. Proximity to the subway is crucial when living in NYC; however,”space” took a backseat in my priorities and I was hit hard with reality once my move was complete.

My stuff didn’t fit.

Life really does throw you curveballs. Just when I managed to find a place for everything and was finally feeling settled, I received some bad news. July wasn’t even half way over and I found out I lost my marketing gig on Fifth Avenue… just a couple of days before I was told I needed to find a new apartment.

Back to the drawing board.  

So, what does a girl do after riding a New York rollercoaster for over two years? One might tell her to “pick yourself up and keep going!” My wise mind told me to leave… that there had to be something better, more fitting for me just around the corner.

Unfortunately, leaving meant packing. Packing everything I had collected, everything I brought with me, everything my family sent me from home. Sigh.

So, here’s what I did.

  • I carried three pieces of luggage home to Michigan with me- only with the summer clothes and things I would immediately need.
  • I shipped several- and I mean SEVERAL- boxes home to my mom’s house. I’d worry about those later.
  • About those boxes… each had a method behind the madness. Winter coats in one, miscellaneous shoes I never wear in another, work clothes, random clothes, house crap… but mainly clothes.
  • I gave a lot of things away. I had purses that were great, kitchenware I had never used, and bulky things I just couldn’t take with me. I left my brand new leather chair with my roommate as a token of appreciation for dealing with me. More on that later.
  • I threw a lot of things away. Towels, sheets, socks, toiletries. Goodbye.
  • Someone on the sidewalk must have had fun, too- I left a variety of odds and ends, storage compartments, books and jewelry organizers on the curb. Come and get it.

I did a lot of organizing and additional purging when I returned to Michigan, and did even more of it this past month before heading to Boston.

Once again, I got on a flight with three pieces of luggage. I had searched high and low for a temporary apartment outside the city, and in the end found a cute Airbnb while I interviewed for jobs.

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An organized, manageable amount of clothes.

For the time being I’m content in my temporary Medford home. It’s organized, cozy, and has space for everything I need- not everything I own. In a week I’ll have a better idea of where I want to live and what my rent budget is, but I’ll tell you one thing:

Even if I had all the space in the world, I wouldn’t want to fill it.

There is something serene about knowing exactly what you own, where it is and how it fits in your life. My old habits of being a packrat have diminished with each move, and now I value organization, piece of mind and decluttering more than the American dream of consumerism and “stuff.” Ugh, stuff.

This is what brings me to the “mindful” theme of my blog- in being present and content with where you are in life, what you have and what you want, you can also live minimally, stylishly, happy and content. These things are on your terms- no one else’s. I came to a crossroads where I had to decide what I valued- it wasn’t “keeping up with the Joneses” or buying the latest pair of heels- it’s about quality over quantity. Quality in people, places and things- not living a life of excess.

Although I have made some mistakes along the way, I’ve gotten the chance to learn about myself, declutter my room, and ultimately, declutter my life.

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While I used to own dozens of purses, now I only keep what I use- and love.