The Day I Found My Freedom

I’ll never forget the feeling I had that March afternoon in San Francisco.

I was just dropped off at SFO, heading to my gate for my return flight to Michigan.  Tears in my eyes, I got out my phone to call my parents.

“I don’t want to go back,” I declared. “I’m going to call off the wedding.”

It was 2008, and I had been engaged for exactly seven months.  Although the engagement was quick, and I thought I was happy at the time, it didn’t take long for me to see the reality before my very eyes.

The day in, the day out.  The daily traffic into my corporate job.  Coming home to the same routine, every day, to the same person- at 23 years old.

I knew it wasn’t the life for me.  Two years earlier I had plans to move to New York City as soon as I graduated.  I didn’t expect to meet someone later that year, on my 22nd birthday on December 22nd, who would swoop me off to Kauai for Valentine’s Day and move me into their beautiful suburban house once I finished college.  I’ve always been a big believer in signs, so I thought, “maybe I’m not supposed to go to New York after all.”  There had to be a bigger reason for meeting this person on such a significant day to me.

Back in 2006, my partying was getting out of control despite my grand plans for finishing school and heading to the city.  At the time, it seemed like he was an angel saving me from myself.

I would later learn no one could save me but me.

When I told my father, he thought I was insane.  Of course, any father wants their daughter be taken care of and to have a good life.  A good life to me looked a bit different than my parents’ view, though.

The day before my flight, my half sister (who worked in SF at the time) and I talked about my relationship and my goals for life.  Before I even realized it, she knew the marriage wouldn’t work.  She challenged my views and helped me realize I should take some time to reconsider.  She helped me think differently about what I really wanted- because for over a year, someone else was trying to make all my decisions for me.

Little Italy, 2008

As the plane took off, I thought about how I would wait a couple of weeks before telling my fiancé I didn’t want to get married.  I thought about what types of jobs I could apply to in San Francisco, where I would live, and who I could become.  I daydreamed of freedom, making new friends, and exploring the magical, quirky sights of the city.  My gut told me moving was the right thing to do- and from the moment my fiancé greeted me at the gate, I knew it was over.

I didn’t wait two weeks.

I told him right away.

Of course, he tried to convince me it was a phase and how my sister was envious of me. He attempted to tell me I didn’t know what I was doing and how I was meant to be with him. All of his efforts to control me- from my diet to physical activities to what I wore- filled my brain, and I no longer felt sorry for him.

I began to have a deeper compassion for myself.

For the next week I stayed on a friend’s couch, who took a day off work with me to pack up my things.  I left my princess cut diamond on the dresser, leaving behind all the furniture I helped buy with my graduation money.  No physical object was worth sacrificing my dreams- or my future.

Who knows what would have happened had I not taken that trip to see my sister in 2008. Perhaps the wedding would have happened, and maybe I would be divorced now.  We will never know.  However, despite the judgment I received from others, I knew deep in my heart that I was making the right choice.  I knew, at 23, that I didn’t want to take the easy way out and allow the wrong man to take care of me.  I simply refused to do that.

I would have to spread my wings and fly.

I would have to make mistakes on my own.

I would somehow, someway, succeed- and despite the failures, I would learn from them- because I finally had my freedom.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but I do know I will never have to mourn the chances I didn’t take.  It’s been nearly 12 years since I took the leap, quit my job, and blindly moved to an apartment on California and Commonwealth Avenue.  Over the course of those 12 years, I’ve lived in a dozen more apartments, several other cities, and did eventually move to New York…

All because I chose freedom.

Quick, Curious, Playful, and Strong

Clinch Park Marina, Traverse City
2013 ShopStyle Campaign
Cherry Capital Airport
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Central Park Stroll
Remembering Kate Spade

Thank you Katy for all of the moments of style and inspiration.

May we continue to live colorfully and curiously. 💞✨

Living in Color

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A photo popped up on Facebook from a feature I was in on the former StyleList.com.  Four years ago, in the height of my fashion blogger days, I was getting ready for my move to New York City.  I had just escaped a bad relationship, where I had split my time between Traverse City, Charlotte, and San Francisco.  Off to New York, I would go- I would start fresh, and my dreams would come true.

Or so I hoped.

Bright eyed in a midi skirt with a fresh new bob, this girl was off to her new life on the Upper West Side.  Little did she know what was in store for her over the course of the next three years, though.

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Flashback Friday. Pacific Heights, 2014

2014 was a magical year.  Despite the challenges, the heartbreak, and the transitions- it was exciting.  It was full of life.  New York had yet to make me jaded, and my eyes were open to every possibility.  Maybe too many possibilities!

Lately I’ve been getting back into that old mindset though- the mindset of living life with excitement.  Viewing it as one big story.  A big fairytale… where anything can happen.

The mindset of living life in color.

I’ve been stuck in black and white for so long that I almost forgot about the pinks and the reds.  The yellow of the sun and the orange of my favorite baseball team. The bright opal sky on a warm spring night and the greens of the forest.

So that’s where I’m going to pick back up again- in color.  Back to that girl in 2014 who was packing up three dozen boxes of clothes (no exaggeration) and accessories before shipping them to an uptown apartment she had never seen or been to before.  Who got on that plane on a warm June day, on her way to a brand new life.  That girl who walked into restaurants alone, ordered an Eggs Benedict, and would meet a cute stranger (true story).

That girl who was fearless.

Never, ever let anyone break you.  Take the challenges as opportunities to grow even stronger, and instead of looking back with regret, be grateful for the ones who have made you tough.

You deserve to live in color.

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San Francisco Soul

Ten years ago today I moved outside of Michigan for the first time in my life.  Taking a one way flight to SFO, I moved in with two girls I had never met, into an apartment I had only seen in photos.  Making a major life decision based on intuition, I felt an amazing feeling of euphoria for the first time in my life: it was a feeling of freedom.

A chance to start new.  A city to be free to find myself.

I had just called off my wedding and knew there was a lot more out there for me; but I had no idea what that would be.  Little did I know what a winding path I would have since that April evening!  My first days, months, and year in San Francisco was such a special time in my life- one that I will never, ever forget. ✨

Never be scared to follow your intuition and take risks- your heart knows that way.

Always A Giant

Summer 2010

Happy Opening Day!

Ten years ago I moved to San Francisco after 23 years in Michigan.  I had never followed a sports team before, but the moment I stepped into AT&T Park that April night, everything changed.

The Giants went from underdog to three World Series wins, and although they lost when I saw them in Chicago during the 2016 playoffs, there’s always this season.

Even though I left San Francisco in 2011, you can take the girl out of California, but she will always be a Giant!  Here’s to an even year. ⚾️ ⚾️