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 💛

Dream Big: Turning Blog Posts Into A Solid Foundation

Along the path of life, people may misunderstand your journey or doubt your dreams.

When I decided to move to San Francisco in 2008, months before the stock market crashed and prior to a publicly traded Facebook, an acquaintance scoffed at me saying, “well, that will be cheap.”

Within two weeks of this comment, I got a job at a popular tech startup downtown SF and was living in a rent-controlled apartment in Laurel Heights- even less than what some friends in Metro Detroit were paying- because for me, it’s always about thinker smarter, not harder.

What would have happened if I would have taken his comment to heart?

What would have happened in the course of my life had I held back from my cross- country moves, calling off a wedding, quitting jobs I was selling my soul for, or walking away from people who didn’t value me-

all because of what someone who barely knows me had to say?

Had I not moved to SF, I never would have gotten homesick the next year and moved to Austin. I wouldn’t have met some amazing people in Texas who I’m still in touch with today, and I probably wouldn’t have decided to move back to San Francisco had I not lived such a great life the first time around.

But in 2010, I was different. I had discovered blogging, sharing my stories online, and documenting my daily activities. I realized how powerful connection is- and how you don’t have to be involved in a local community to feel a sense of home; home is wherever you feel understood. 

People doubted the San Francisco Giants that year, too. But we all know how that turned out. Fall of 2010, I drove back to the city after a work trip in Lake Tahoe, high on life after quitting an office manager job in data security. With my rental car windows down and the music on, I felt free- but I didn’t know what the rocky road of creative freedom would bring months and years into this journey.


The same person who mocked my California move asked to meet with me years later about marketing his company, as he saw my work and experience from San Francisco.

I couldn’t work with someone who once doubted me.

Over the years, I learned an important lesson the hard way: You don’t need to try to explain or justify anything to anyone when you make choices in life! Those who resonate with your path will find you- but it’s not your job to explain. 

You can simply show them.

For now, try to ignore the negative or fear-based distractions and keep aiming high- the only limitation you have is what others try to project onto you- and what you believe. ✨ You have your own foundation to build upon.


The “Dream Big, Darling” rock was created from a post I wrote back in 2017, inspired by a Primark sweatshirt and a day planner from the Harvard Coop.

Soul Connection or Nah? Recognizing the Difference Between Bonds

It’s happened to the best of us. We meet someone and are instantly drawn to them- but why?

Sometimes you have a deep and undeniable spiritual connection with another person, while other times your intuition can play tricks on you, making you think there’s a higher connection when it’s really a lesson in disguise.

If you feel a strong bond with someone who is trying to change you, guilt you, or make you feel you’re not enough, that’s not a soul connection. From my own experience, it was always a narcissist looking to feed from my spirit.

Has anyone else experienced this? Have you met someone you were instantly drawn to, only to realize later the outcome wasn’t what you expected? Did you keep trying to find ways for them to accept you? Did you constantly feel you weren’t worthy?

Oh yeah, me too.

As I reflect on the past four or five years, it’s clear to me how I’ve met people I’ll forever share a bond with, people I’ll keep from a distance, and people I will never talk to again, but will always value the lesson they taught me.

Whether it’s a business, family, or a personal connection, it’s important to recognize the role people play in our lives- and that it isn’t our job to change them or the nature of the relationship.

It is what it is.

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.

Stop Telling Women To Smile

A week ago I was sitting at my favorite coffee shop, notebook in hand and a coffee on the table.  I pulled out my mirror to see if I had anything on my face, quickly fixing my concealer that was out of place from my oversized sunglasses.

“Your makeup looks fine!” a stranger next to me declared.  I looked over, laughed, and continued to set up shop at my seat.

He didn’t stop there.  “You know, most men would say women look best without makeup.  It’s Sunday!  Don’t wear makeup!”

Newsflash: I wear makeup for me, not you.

I love to dress up, wear red lipstick, and don my Karen Walker shades.  Not looking for validation, on most days I simply want to write in peace; the last thing I want is to have strangers approach me to give me unsolicited advice or flirt poorly at a coffee shop.

Nevertheless, whether or not it was meant to be a compliment, it was still suggesting I change who I am or what I do.  That never sits well with me- flirting or not.  It’s manipulative, and it’s unwelcomed.

Here’s a comprehensive list of things women don’t need to hear from a man:

  • How to wear our hair
  • What clothes to choose
  • How long our hair “should” be
  • When to wear makeup
  • That we should smile

Maybe some women need the words of the opposite sex to gain their confidence, but I am not one of them.

“The sexualization behind telling women to smile is alarming. It makes women feel that we are only meant to be happy and pretty and it’s a passive way to engage into an unwanted conversation.” –

I’ve had ex-boyfriends try and dress me up in the shortest of skirts, 6 inch heels, and cleavage revealing attire.  That’s just not my style.  I’ve even had an ex ask me if I was going to a funeral because I was wearing all black.  Didn’t you know black is slimming and chic?  Just look at Audrey Hepburn.  I doubt she cared what other people said about her little black dress.

The guy at the cafe went on to later tell me how our meeting was “serendipitous,” in which I immediately rolled my eyes.

No, you just sat next to a woman and started telling her what to do and not to do.  Also, I have no interest in a divorced 50-something who was thumbing through his “Plenty of Fish” app.

Women can have it pretty rough out there, but as long as we hold our own and stick to our laurels, we will be just fine.

Just don’t tell me to smile.

Inspired by Stop Telling Women to Smile, a street art project addressing gender-based street harassment.

The Beauty of True Friendship

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It’s clear that Traverse City has beauty, charm, and so much to offer.

Since moving home last Tuesday, I have loved strolling the streets, revisiting my favorite spots, and snapping photos of the new art.

But the best part about being home are the relationships I have been able to have once again.

I had no idea how much my friends cared over the years- and how worried they were about me as I bounced from city to city.  They knew I hid my loneliness.  They were concerned about my alcoholism.  They were sad to learn I spent holidays by myself.

I didn’t even realize I was missed- but now I do.

I’ve had some of the most priceless experiences with old friends this past week, meaningful conversations, and re-connection with people I have known since I was 12 years old.  I have filled my calendar with coffee and lunch dates, received hilarious Marco Polo videos from one of my best friends navigating motherhood, and have bumped into former coworkers.  Wanting to help me in any way they can, I have felt more love this past week than I have in years.

These are the people who knew me before I thought I had to put on a mask.

My mask of strength was a tool to keep me safe from the world- and to keep me from getting hurt.

Today, I finally know who I am- and that I don’t have to hide from good friends.  I don’t have to hide who I am here in Traverse City- I can simply be me.

Taking a deep breath of relief, I am beyond grateful I could fly home and show my face- and what is in my heart.

Take Time To Yourself While You Can

There’s no “finish line” of life.

Sure, life will come to an end at some point, but we never know where our journey will lead.

We don’t run the show as hard as we may try.  We can’t finagle our own little plans and designs to go our way, because the Universe already knows where we belong- and when pieces will fall into place.

While sitting at my favorite cafe, Brew, I chatted with one of my dearest friends who I met in 7th grade.  Both bullied, we bonded over the years due to our struggles and strength.  Today, she’s married with two kids, a house, and a lot of responsibility.

“Take time to yourself while you can,” she told me.

“I tell my sister the same thing.”  Her sister, also a friend of mine, is beautiful, strong, and sophisticated- and single.

Lately I have been feeling lonely (obviously- I left Boston to return to my hometown), thinking I want a partner.  I have been thinking about all the guys I have met, wondering why they didn’t choose me- and why people I know have partnered up and I haven’t.

Then, I realized:

I’m not quite ready.

Loving myself, spending time with friends, and embracing my family is where I am at now.  I’m becoming the most authentic version of myself that I can be, and I am no longer willing to let someone try and change me.

When he comes along, he will come along- and he will be strong. He will love me for me. He will encourage me to be thrive.  He will be ready for me, too.

But for now, I’m taking time to myself while I can.

Listen to the Birds

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“Pay the thunder no mind – listen to the birds.”

Our minds race each and every day.  That problem I had last week?  I’ve already forgotten about it.  The worries I have today?  They’re going to be resolved effortlessly.

Our higher power speaks through other people, but sometimes our egos don’t stop and listen.  Meditation is a huge part of my daily life, but I often forget to ask for help.  Sitting by myself has its purpose, but connection with people is equally important.

Since being home, I have had an amazing time reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones.  I’m so grateful to have realized I am loved, cared about, and can give my love back to them in return.

This is a whole new chapter, and I choose to listen to the birds, not the thunder in my mind.