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Friday, September 16, 2016

five years

When I think of the term "Five Years", I think of David Bowie and how much I wish I were alive during the peak of his creative career. I think of job interviews and the classic question of "Where do you see yourself in Five Years?". I think of the amount of time I should have spent in school so I could have held off on adulthood for just one more year. This is what many probably think of, but today, it means something else to me.

Five years ago from today I was a completely different person. I was living in a different lifetime, on another planet. I had a different lifestyle, a different mindset, and a different circle of friends. Many of those people don't speak to me anymore. A good percentage of those many probably do not wish me well. And I'm OK with that. 

Five years ago I was walking into a future that I knew I didn't want. I was building a white picket fence that was never meant for me. I was throwing a bouquet that I had no right to hold. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, I was a child. 

I was getting ready to go through one of the most trying experiences of my life. I willingly abandoned all that I knew and moved from small town Ohio to a massive metropolitan area. I lost all of my friends. I embraced a new life - a new job, new acquaintances, a new love - almost immediately after burning the bridges that got me to New York City. Throughout the first year, I was experiencing much of life for the first time. I was truly on my own, I was seeing so many things through a different set of eyes - that first year to this date was the best year of my life. I recall specific moments and feelings from that first year more vividly than any other span of time in my lifetime. One should wish that they felt and experienced the things I did within that year over a lifetime. It really was that good.

From there though, I experienced confusion, selflessness, abandon, anger, emotional abuse, intense loneliness, true freedom, self discovery, self loathing, breakthroughs, breakdowns, resentment, and gratitude. The inevitable happened - I fell flat on my face. It hurt more than anything I've ever experienced. Nobody was there to help me up, to brush the dirt off my knees, the blood off my hands, but myself. It lead to some pretty amazing things. I met the most wonderful people in the entire world. I saw places that I never could have dreamt of seeing. I felt things that I never knew were possible. Once again, I chose to open my mind and my heart to anything and everything. I fully embraced fate, experience, and feelings - I let all of that control my decisions. I let my heart point me in a direction and then let the wind blow me however far I needed to go. I hit reset one more time.

There are many times over the past Five Years where I have felt lost. I have felt unable to meet my goals, unable to meet The One, unable to feel responsible, unable to make others proud. Through the moments of disappointment, I have recently come to the only conclusion that I'll ever need: I just need to be a good person. There is no decision I could possibly make that would be a bad one if I remember that my goal is to be a good person. 

I befriend strangers. I've built a wall around my heart higher than one can climb. I buy flowers for strangers and try to hand them out on the subway (I get a lot of weird looks for this). I dislike my body most of the time. I prefer to drown myself in sad music. I allow people to touch my soul. I trust too easily. I eat more fast food than I should. I want things that I can't have. I immediately turn simple thoughts into unrealistic expectations. I'm irresponsible. I'm compassionate. I know how to light up a room. I don't know how to turn off feelings. At the end of the day, I know exactly who I am and I'm always proud of that.

And the one thing have I have not felt over the past Five Years is regret.

*A very special thank you to my best friend Erica Dean. You deserve every ounce of credit for being by my side during the darkest times and the very best times. You know me better than I know myself. You've picked me up when I've been curled up in the corner crying, you've made me walk when I couldn't even stand, and you've believed in me every step of the way. I honestly don't know where I would be without you. I love you so much. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

in the summer silence

This summer has been an interesting one. I can definitely say it's been on the better half of the 29 summers I've experienced, but it has also had a good share of mishaps and lessons. I thrive on living life to the fullest, embracing every experience and milking it to the last drop, and saying 'yes' to anything that comes my way. I'm rarely spending an evening at home lounging on the couch, and I'm often finding myself too tired to feel 100% because I never want to miss out on a single evening in this beautiful city. 

This has caught up to me. 

I'm ready for the weather to cool down - not so I can wear this dope jacket everywhere - but also so I can chill out myself. I'm excited for the weather to be an excuse to hole up for a weekend. I'm excited to have some seriously deep conversations with myself about the person that I want to become. Most of all, I'm excited to hang out with my cat.

Do you have any big plans for the tail end of the year? 

Dress: Forever 21 
Jacket: twenty5a
Shoes: Forever 21

Photos by Jeff Ju

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

this week in words

I hope everybody had a fantastic holiday weekend! I got Friday AND Monday off - it was so nice. It's a cool(ish) and dreary day here in NYC which is exactly what I needed. I've been attempting to keep up with these posts - if not for any body else, definitely for myself. I hope if you invest your time in reading them that you're enjoying them as well! Here's my weekly round-up of fun facts:

1. Good causes are cool. If you were looking to spend your hard earned cash on something that matters (instead of that XXL pizza you were planning on ordering tonight), I have a couple ideas for you: 

Idea #1: I saw my friend Jesse Ruben play a show for the first time in a while. Not only is he a pretty rad musician, but he's also been suffering with Lyme Disease for a long time (he's such an amazingly upbeat person that you could never tell that he's going through this terrifying situation). The cool part about this? He's the first person to ever run a marathon to raise money for the Global Lyme Alliance. Jesse himself has gone through years of treatment, yet this badass dude is training for the marathon himself - he hasn't run a marathon since 2010. Help him kick ass and donate to his cause here

Idea #2: My friend Alyssa and I are raising money for the flood victims in Louisiana and West Virginia. I wrote a whole blog post on it - check it out here. While we had original plans of driving to Baton Rouge over Labor Day weekend, we realized that logistically we were getting a little ambitious. While Baton Rouge has received some media coverage, the tragedy certainly hasn't received enough attention. In addition to that, did you hear about the floods that destroyed the town of Clendenin, West Virginia in late June? We didn't either, until Hannah from The HALO Foundation saw our fundraiser on Facebook and invited us to help (something much more realistic than driving to Baton Rouge). We had an absolute blast meeting new friends, volunteering, and of course, road tripping! We appreciate the support of our friends and family and all of the contributions made so far - and we're still accepting donations. Donate to our cause here!

2. While strolling through some shops by my office, I realized that love at first sight is a real thing. I'm actually beyond obsessed with these booties from Free People. They're simple and comfortable, but beautifully designed and subtly stand out. They've actually inspired the vibe of my entire fall wardrobe. You can see the rest of my fall wardrobe inspiration on my Pinterest board composed of affordable pieces that I can actually buy (I may have already indulged in a few pieces already). 

3. As always, I'm craving a getaway. The first places that come to mind? A glass house upstate New York, Copenhagen, Joshua Tree, and a treehouse in Hawaii -all thanks to stalking Airbnb. Which destination are you feeling? 

Oh, hello there, you stunning glass cabin. This dream house is pretty much sold out through November (and doesn't seem to have any reservations available over weekends) but I'm determined to make it mine somehow. A rental car, a handsome man, a case of Cabernet or Malbec, and bags on bags of groceries to craft some yummy meals is exactly what I'm in the mood for. Bonus points for ambience can be achieved through flowers, Anthropologie candles, and super soft sweatpants. 

This charming treehouse has romantic getaway written all over it. I've never been to Hawaii (I should have taken advantage of being so close while living in LA) but that's not stopping me from writing it close to the top of my bucket list. Would breakfast in bed, exploring waterfalls, and perfect blue water too much to ask for in addition to this?

Denmark, Sweden, and Norway are my next stops internationally since I've had the pleasure of getting to know some pretty awesome Danes over the past few months. A Danish summer sounds like heaven given the humid heat waves we've experienced in New York. And facts are facts: studies show that people are just happier there, and you can't go wrong with happiness. Side note: Scandinavian design is perfect. Just perfect.

Most of my favorite west coast memories are road trips. After camping a few times with my California/Ohio family, I can't stop thinking about going back. I know we've always camped, but how cute is this kitchen? I see Timmy Twister making Ohio-shaped pizzas in that oven and Marni being very happy with a flushable toilet (miss you babes so much).

4. I'm not a beer connoisseur like some of my friends, but it was a holiday weekend and I'm still craving the perfect accompaniment for my hot dogs and hamburgers. I discovered the Braven Brewing Company (a Brooklyn local, based right here in Bushwick) with super hip packaging - and the stuff inside definitely doesn't disappoint. I'll take 6, please!

5. You know when your horoscope is totally accurate about you as a person AND it tells you exactly what you want to hear? Thanks a zillion, Refinery29: 

You, a hopeless romantic? Yup, it's happening, Aries. This week, envelope-pushing Jupiter launches a new 13-month cycle could earn you status as the zodiac’s #LoveWins champion and cheerleader. Until October 2017, the red-spotted planet will be parked in Libra and your seventh house of committed relationships. While you adore passion, you can still be a hard one to pin down. You’re often hesitant to dive in full-force or get caught in the net, since you need your solitary space and "me time." But Jupiter is breaking it down for you in a different way: there is freedom to be found in twosomes, too. The right person can pick up where you leave off, lend love and support, and help you double the strength of your efforts. Don’t rule out long-distance relationships or cross-cultural crushes. Liberated Jupiter helps you write your own rules and they don’t necessarily involve a white picket fence. Work the tag teams at the office, too. This Jupiter cycle could bring a killer collaboration that brings you industry cred. Lawyer up, though, because you don't want to leave the terms up to a handshake deal.