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.

A Girl Finding Her Identity

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When I was young- probably 9 or so- my cousin called me selfish.  Yet to explore any sort of self discovery or identity, I was shocked.

This stuck with me for years, and later I began to show many behaviors that were selfish.  I continually told myself I was misunderstood, different, and unloved.  I began to doubt myself and who I was as a person.

Where did I fit in this world?

I faked sick on family holidays and refused to believe I belonged.  I detached from the people who loved me the most, unaware how important family and my roots were.  I was antisocial, confused, and misunderstood.  How could anyone understand me if I couldn’t even understand myself?

On a 9th grade trip to the Birch Run outlets with my mom, I remember picking out a sleek dark purple jacket at Ralph Lauren.  I felt like a star.

Upon returning to Traverse City, I pranced around downtown, running errands with my mom wearing my black Express pants, envisioning myself in a place like Chicago or even New York City.  I dreamed of being somewhere different- somewhere no one knew my name.

Somewhere along the way I started to identify as the “black sheep.”

I didn’t know who I was at age 15, but I was certain I didn’t belong in Michigan.

As I went on to college, making new friends and seeking the approval of fraternity boys (some of which I’m still friends with today), I was lost in a sea of vodka and $1 beer. I did whatever I could to find love, but most of all, acceptance.

My drinking began to get out of control, and so did my self respect.  After college, I moved in with an older boyfriend who I later got engaged to.  I thought this relationship would save me from the all-nighters and my bad behavior- which it did, for about a year.  Then, I gave back my Princess cut diamond and took off to San Francisco.

I did the cities- 7 in all.  I worked in fashion.  I considered law school.  I did the startup thing.  I had no idea what I wanted, so I kept running from myself- only to find myself right back where I came from 12 years later.

As an adult, I’m aware I’m still a little selfish- and now, it’s okay.  This kind of selfishness is self-care, which at the core isn’t selfish at all.

The difference today is that I know how to set boundaries, but also to welcome the love that surrounds me.  My identity was never lost- I needed to mistakes, try things out, and move around to truly learn who I am as a person- and that being myself was all I ever needed all along.

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Where I See Myself

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“I want to write. I want to write stories that make people feel less alone than I did. I want to make people laugh about the things in life that are painful. That’s what I want to do.” –Hannah, Girls

I am finally finishing Girls, one of my favorite TV shows.  Over the past couple of years I’ve been absorbed in my own life, without HBO (until now) or television in general.  However, it’s a good thing I am finishing the series when I am, because the synchronicities between Hannah Horvath and myself are out of control.

Not only is she an only child from Michigan like me, she moved to New York City with the dream of becoming a writer.  She got herself into ridiculous situations, met a plethora of crazy characters, and even was published in the Modern Love section of the New York Times- yet another goal of mine.

When asked where she wanted to be in three to five years by author Chuck Palmer (who stated how much he loves Traverse City, my hometown), she told him she wanted to write.

The vulnerability of writing is powerful, healing, and helpful to others- and like Hannah, I want to write to make people not feel so alone, too.

I’ve never been good at “jobs;” as a creative person, I’ve struggled in office environments.  I’ve had creative differences with people I have worked for.  I have had a vision, a dream, and a wild streak- something that employers generally don’t value or understand.

Freelance writing is something I am looking to do full-time, yet working on my book is my top priority right now.  In addition to writing two Modern Love stories, I have an outline for a fictional, yet semi-autobiographical book based on my life in New York City and beyond.

We will see where my path leads, but I know who I am, and I know what I am good at.  I know my dreams and goals, and in this chapter, I won’t let sitting at someone else’s desk get in my way.

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