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 💛

Magical Spring Air

There’s something magical about the smell of spring air.

Listening to the birds chirp, the sound of the waves, and the warm breeze hit the leaves takes me back to the same feeling of wonder and excitement as I did growing up.

During this reset, I’ve been looking back on the person I was before I let the world start to shape me. How did I feel on those warm spring days playing along the bay? What excited me to get up and run out to the backyard in the morning?

In the days before cell phones and the internet, we learned how to have fun on our own- and we had a lot less anxiety.

As I look back on a simpler time, I can’t help but wonder, why not always live this way? Why not incorporate more balance into everyday life even when the world starts up again?

Although we have the world at our fingertips, we will miss what’s right in front of us if we don’t pause to see it.

Balancing the Light with the Dark: What Grit Means to Me

A couple of weeks ago I had a few thoughts about toxic positivity and the “good vibes only” culture. I do love good vibes- but I’ve also learned how to navigate the bad ones.

When the name “Mindful in Style” popped into my head back in 2016, it was created with a vision of living consciously and embracing whatever style was yours- work style, writing style, and overall lifestyle. As a former fashion blogger, a lot of people related my choice of the word “style” to “fashion.” Yes, clothing is a type of style, but my play on words with the blog name was so much more than that.

It’s about being true and aware of your own way of life.

I have my own style of living mindfully, and it isn’t about wearing mala beads, sitting on a meditation cushion, or exclusively focusing on the light. It’s about embracing the grit while shining in your own unique way.

To me, grit isn’t a catchy term CEOs and “thought leaders” use to motivate employees to work harder. Grit is accepting your dark side. It’s knowing how your past shaped the person you are today. It’s accepting your mistakes, your flaws, and facing your problems.

Grit is vulnerability.

If I had an easy childhood, I probably wouldn’t have the same sense of humor as I do. I wouldn’t be called to write, and I certainly wouldn’t have as many experiences from my attempts at geographical cures.

I didn’t have a father at home to tell me I was doing a good job. I didn’t have siblings to watch out for me when I was followed and harassed on the playground. I didn’t hang out with the popular girls in school who played tennis (oh, I tried, and played terribly). Instead, people constantly bullied me, told me what was wrong with me, and laughed about my misfortune behind my back.

I mainly kept to myself and continued doing what I was doing- until I could run away for over a decade.

Today, I want to talk about it. I finally took my power back.

In October I moved back to Traverse City, a town where mean girls were a dime a dozen, with a brand new view of the world through my oversized sunglasses. I began seeing people for who they were- humans- who were simply trying to do the best they could. Perhaps those people have their own grit beneath the surface. Maybe highlighting my problems made them feel better about theirs.

Grit is taking back your narrative.

Do you have grit if you made 20 more phone calls at work than the guy sitting next to you in your cubicle? Probably not. Nevertheless, perseverance and a sense of humor through life’s biggest challenges is true success to me- whether you’re a surgeon or are serving burgers with a smile.

Enthusiasm for life and being fully present is what I treasure the most these days. Instead of focusing on the things I don’t like or didn’t work for me, I consciously fill my thoughts and energy on the things I love. I revisit stories of my past and use the grit to help others. My darkness fuels my creativity today- mostly because I am proud of myself for learning to heal the pain and insecurities that once crippled me.

Sometimes I still cry when I think about things that once happened to me- but I can embrace those feelings today. I can embrace how far I have come. I don’t have to hold onto resentments- I can forgive, move on, and share stories.

To me, that’s grit.

Here’s another post I wrote about “grit” back in 2018.

Good vibes with a dash of darkness.

Enjoying a Quiet Life

77358496_10108136978846178_1159279447774330880_n

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.

76760025_10108136978831208_4666397364838203392_n

I’m Not Ignoring You, I’m Just Living In The Moment

Each minute of every day, we have communication right there in our pocket (or in my case, a Henri Bendel handbag).

From texts to calls, our phones never cease to ring, beep, or buzz.  We receive social media alerts, Tweets, and comments.  Since it’s so easy to get a hold of one another, people sometimes forget that we all have our own lives, obligations, and self care to attend to.  It’s not necessary to respond to everything we receive right away.

In this day and age, it’s crucial to take the time to go “off the grid” to focus on what’s right there in front of you.  Whether it’s spending face time with friends and family, reading a book, or enjoying time in nature, it’s so important to put down the phone and be in the moment.  Embracing what is right in front of you is what life is all about.

You don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why it took you a few hours to respond, nor do you need to feel obligated to check your Facebook feed every hour.  It’s important to remember that life is happening around us every minute, and although the virtual world can be fun (and important for staying in touch with our loved ones), being mindful and in the moment is the greatest gift of all.

So, put down your iPhone and do something that takes you back to your childlike joy.

Your mental health will thank you.

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.

Sacred Space: The Significance of the Number 4

Yesterday I had the day off for Patriot’s Day- a holiday celebrated in both Massachusetts and Maine- and decided to spend my afternoon recharging in nature. Although I was tempted to watch the Boston Marathon runners along Beacon Street, I knew it would be best for me to connect my mind, body, and spirit with a dose peace and quiet.

We are a society on the go, and often times we neglect to honor our natural rhythms and cycles.

The number 4 represents the state of being- “things are as they are.” Through planting myself in nature, I got back to my roots and centered myself.

4 energy also represents a sacred space, a sanctuary, and embodies security- which is exactly how I felt sitting along the Charles River, breathing in the warm air and listening to the birds chirp all around me. I have my own sacred space in my home, but there’s nothing like being one with nature, allowing all feelings and thoughts to flow.

There are 4 seasons, 4 elements, 4 directions; 4 is an instrumental number, symbolizing a strong foundation and the natural cycles of life.

Since April is a 4 month, I’ve been focusing on developing my own solid foundation by taking small steps to build a peaceful and purposeful life on a daily basis. Whether it’s meditating by the river or being mindful of what you eat, consider what you’re doing today to honor your mind, body, and spirit.

You’re worth it.

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