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
conscious living

Meaning Over Materialism: My Break-Up With A Blog

k

I’ve had my share break-ups over the years.  That newly single feeling is strange; while part of you is happy to be free, another feels a bit lost.  What will fill the new emptiness? A couple of years ago I experienced one of my worst break-ups of all:

I ended a long-term relationship with a blog.

It sounds funny, doesn’t it?  It all started as a hobby in 2011, right after my San Francisco years. With a basic layout and Instagram-fed posts, I began sharing photos of bayside scenes, outfits of the day, and what I had for lunch on a Tumblr account.  It was quick and simple- I didn’t bother with links or text, just photos.  After a couple of years it morphed into something completely different- it was a daily documentation of my personal style.

I loved my “photo journal.”  I felt every outfit, color, and scene I chose came together to tell a story, each for the reader to interpret.  Every morning I would use a self-timer app on my phone to capture my outfit of the day, always in front of an interesting backdrop or within nature.  The water was always my favorite place to shoot- hence the blog name, K on the Bay.  From photography and editing to merchandising and marketing, my blog was my baby.  It was also my identity- I could hide behind my signature shades and be whoever I wanted to be.  No one else in Northern Michigan was doing anything like it at the time, so I felt my progress and impact much more than I would have in a big city.  It was fun, and it felt good.

berricle

After a while I started working with small companies and up-and-coming designers (often friends of mine), helping them promote their brands by providing content.  They’d give me clothes, and in return I would wear and style the pieces, provide photos, write-ups, and social media posts.  Once I started to get inquiries about collaborations with bigger or more expensive brands (pieces I probably wouldn’t have bought on my own), I made sure to throw in budget items and thrift store finds as usual.  I wanted my blog to be accessible for a creative, polished smart shopper.

I moved to New York in 2014 and was still blogging in full-force, but my creativity wasn’t up to par.  Taking photos without people in the background was nearly impossible and I hardly strayed away from my beloved all-black ensembles.  As I received more and more items that didn’t feel like “me,” I would whip up a post just to get the content out there, never to wear the pieces again.  I was going against everything I stood for: authenticity and meaning.  I was taking outfit photos for the sake of the photo, not because I felt strongly about the brand or actually wanted to share the pieces with others.  Doesn’t that completely discredit the entire concept of influencer marketing?

It’s crucial for me to do all things with meaning, or else I won’t put in the effort at all.  Blogging seemed more like a chore than a joy, and I could feel my passion rapidly fading.  My intuition continued to tell me it was time to focus on something new, and slowly but surely I started to realize how meaningless all of my “stuff” was.  I began downsizing after abruptly deleting my blog on New Year’s Eve 2015, started a new Tumblr, took more photos of the beautiful world around me and, most importantly, began writing from my heart.  I used to only be comfortable sharing what was on the surface- oh, how freeing it is share from the soul!

Earlier this year I wrote about how a fashion girl went frugal, which was picked up by Thought Catalog.  My transition into minimalism was a natural one that has lead me on a whole new path to spirituality, serenity, and self discovery.  Break-ups are inevitable, but there is one relationship that will always fill the void: the relationship with yourself.

ny2016
New Year’s Day 2016