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 own experiences and journey to enjoying a life of 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 get when people hear I moved back to Michigan from big cities is usually “wow, what a change” or “you must be bored!”

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

To be honest, even in a big city I spent a lot of time to myself and in quiet reflection.  I spent 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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A Walk Down Memory Lane- Remembering “K on the Bay”

Just in time for Throwback Thursday, a memory appeared on my Facebook feed taking me back to the last time I lived in Traverse City.

Back in 2013, my fashion blog “K on the Bay” was in full swing.

At the time I was working with a variety of designers and online boutiques, so I thought, “why not represent local businesses?”  Traverse City was rapidly growing, but most people didn’t consider it a fashion destination.  With endless shops and brands from all over the country, I wanted to show that you didn’t need to leave the town to find great style.

I contacted every publication in town.  Shot down by most, I kept going- and received interest from Grand Traverse Woman Magazine.  Thrilled, I walked from boutique to boutique, telling them about my blog and offering to style the pieces that wanted to promote for the fall fashion season.

The article came out in the November / December issue, with the title “Warm Style on the Bay.”

This was several months before I decided to move to New York City to pursue a career in fashion.  That said, this little article made me more proud than most things I ever did on the east coast.

What I didn’t realize when I moved is that my impact and connections with other people was so much greater here in Northern Michigan.  From NYC to Boston, I was still a number.  My interest in the blog dwindled, and I later ended up deleting it.

Nevertheless, my love for style never ended- so I created Mindful in Style to bridge mindfulness and fashion.  This time, it wasn’t necessarily about the clothes or the brands; it was created to celebrate individuality and being mindful about whatever style you choose, whether it’s a lifestyle choice or what you put on in the morning.

It’s your style, no one else’s- and that’s being mindful in style.

Today, I am once again working with local boutiques, and I couldn’t be more excited.  Sometimes you have to experience different things to realize you were right where you belong all along.

I’m grateful to come full circle- and that my love for merchandising has been rekindled.

Social Anxiety and Doing You

Since November’s so nice, I’m writing twice.

Before moving back to Michigan I was afraid I would feel alone; lost in a place I used to call home.  That’s the furthest from my current reality.  Since being back, I’ve filled my days with writing, a lot of time with Mom, coffee and lunches, plus a lot of great conversations with old friends.

It’s important to balance “me time” with my social calendar.

From people pleasing to the pressure of explaining why I moved home, I’ve been feeling a little emotionally drained.

I had a lot of social anxiety growing up, so I kept to myself.  With one or two good friends (who I still talk to often), I had a very mellow teenage life.

Something happened along the way, whether it was college or coming back for summers, when I felt the need to be out and about all the time.  I worked in the restaurant industry from age 17-21, which is hyper social.  As a sober person and overall introvert, that social anxiety has returned, but in an entirely different way.

Instead of that awkward teenager, I’m now a woman who knows exactly who she is- and that’s the difference.

The social anxiety is still there- though I may not be awkward and uncomfortable around most people these days, I still get anxious when I feel pressure to “get involved.”  There are many events coming up, from author meetups to a book award festival, and those are things I’ll put my game face on for.

I know my goals, and I know the kind of people who align with my overall lifestyle.

Maybe I’ll become more of a social butterfly, or maybe I’ll always be be that girl who stays at home, writing in her leggings, chatting with old friends on the phone.  Time will tell.

I don’t have to attend everything I’m invited to, and I need to remember I am not obligated to respond to every message or email I receive.

So for today, I’m doing me.