Something Concrete

Sometimes when the world begins to slip out of my grasp, I turn on orchestra music and begin to write. Tonight I am listening to the song I played the first night I spent in my home. I remember how frightened I was at beginning all over again, the foreign terrain presenting unearthed obstacles and overwhelming newness. But seven years later, this town has grabbed hold of my heart, and I think I'll let it stay in its grasp. In this life of emotional upheaval and physical wear and tear... it is nice to sit on something solid and turn on music in the room you grew up in. It is reaffirming to go run on the path you walked on as a girl, giggling about homecoming dates and math class. 

Gertrude Stein is one of my favorite writers, a complete genius I would argue and a woman with vision. She once said, "America is my country, and Paris is my hometown." When I first read that, my body resonated with her words, I could feel my heartbeat quicken and my blood begin to rush. The idea captivated me. Where you are born is undoubtedly where your roots first sprout, but the place you call home...that could be an ocean away.  People, I have begun to realize spend their whole lives trying to find their home. They try and find it in a job, in a mate, and worst of all, they'll claim they don't need one.

My home is not a building. There is no roof over my head in the place I feel at peace. I have always, and will always be a person where mobility is my motherland. When I am in motion, I am at peace. I could be on a sidewalk, in a car, on an airplane. Those are the moments where I can say I breathe without thinking and all is right.  Yet, there is something about the small town sidewalks of where I grew up. I sometimes laugh to myself and think what those white pieces of concrete would say to me if given the chance. How many conversations it was forced to hear about boys, school, and dramatic endeavors. How many lessons they had prayed I would just learn already. And how many laughs and tears were shared on its body. 

So tonight as I listen to Hans Zimmer lull my heart back to a functional pace, I look out onto the sidewalks that let me walk all over them. We all need something concrete in our lives, and sometimes, it's really as simply as a square of white cement. 




Barbara Jean

Tonight I'm going to get personal with you. It is the first snow fall of the season and I made a promise to myself that with every first snow fall I will always pay homage to someone I have loved the most. This person knew me as Kristin Marie or Kris. This individual taught me how to live and encouraged me to dream. My guardian angel took form when I was in my early teens, telling me I had enough to carry on by myself. This woman is my icon and I am humbled to be her legacy.

My grandmother's name was Barbara Jean. She was a no-nonsense gal, and my Grandfather has told me that was the first thing that he loved about her. She dyed her hair platinum blonde when she was sixteen and took New York on a stroll. Never bigger than a size two her entire life, she adored the fashion the city inspired, and her frame allowed it. Growing up she would often take me up and down 5th Avenue and informed me the city had better lessons than any grammer book. The shops were illustrations and the people passing by provided an oral piece of literature that no desk and chair could provide.  

I was an exhausting child she'd tell me. But "don't ever lose that energy" she'd say. We had a wishing tree we'd go to and I'd sit and selfishly list off my demands of the universe. She taught me that a wish had to be something you were willing to go halfway on. You and the world had to both give a ton and then take just a little. When I'd tell her my fears she'd make me explain why. "When you know why something scares you, you can overcome it," she'd quip, a familiar smile erupting on her red lips.  

In my fifteen years of knowing her, I never saw her without makeup. Even when cancer was threatening to cross her last line of defense, she walked beautifully into battle. She invested in wigs, head wraps, and even a cloche hat or two before she'd let anyone see her as less than an ambassador of style. Although fashion forward, she clung to the trend of smoking cigarettes even if it meant lighting up in a hospital. She was a woman who knew what she liked and did as she pleased.

In an apartment at the beginning of Queens was where most of the woman I am today took form. We were best friends, her and I, and she always spoke about the future we'd share.  She was the person in my life who told me I was a princess, and that there was nothing shameful about pursuing a life of royalty. When I began to write my first stories in fourth grade she'd pour over them, and overnight I had my first editor. My first story was a soap opera about cats who could speak. After she read it she suggested I write about people instead. "Write about what you see," she'd say.

When my stuttering arrived, she'd sit patiently until I could get everything out. She never rose her voice, and never looked away in frustration.  She listened and we would talk for hours. Usually because if I spoke too quickly, one sentence could take ten minutes to deliver.

When my Grandmother was diagnosed with cancer my world fell down, but it didn't fall apart like some people say. My Grandmother raised me to deal with crisis and excel through chaos. And although I spent nights bargaining deals with God, I rarely cried for help or a hug. I was too busy playing poker with the heavens.

Slowly the woman I had known and loved with everything I had, began to drift away. She stopped wearing her wigs and our talks made her tired. Our days became shorter and her nights became longer. So long that her nights became a coma, in which she would find a month of slumber. 

My Grandmother was a stubborn woman. Fierce and fiery. She wanted to go with the snow, she'd always say. And on a cold March night in Manhattan, while fresh snowflakes glittered on the ground, my Grandmother took a walk with Jack Frost.  

She'd come and go with the snow. And with the flurries outside I have to smile. Always had to make an entrance. Well welcome back Barbara Jean. It was a dull summer without you.




Projected Change

Some nights you just gotta blog it out.

Last night watching the election coverage I found myself thinking about three things:
1. I really like charts and color coordination.
2. If it's "projected" then it shall be.
3. Change is a big word.

Four years ago I was in Chicago when President Obama took office. Wearing my greek sorority gear and my eyes were wide with curiosity.  The world was forever different we were told, America was going to change. My college campus was buzzing with youthful inspiration and my peers felt validated. We decided this election. We finally had come into an age of having power. Our voices were heard after years of a bad connection. Finally the government replied loud and clear, yes my friends, I can hear you now.

I was in the middle of college four years ago. Dating a different guy, hanging out with different friends, and the real world was on the horizon but no where near the shores of Lake Michigan.  I was living in an academia haven, where the Greeks ruled all and every answer I'd need was spelled out for me in a book.  My political musings were the results of a Liberal Arts college and my parents. I believed in idealism and I treasured its sanctity.

Now, here I am.  Four years older and I've applied for my real world residency. College is over and there are no more talks of Dead Poet's Society. I spend my days discussing facts and possibilities, but not ideals. My choices are my own now and I believe in the things that I've chosen. I am surrounded by a generation that has lost its voice as we have too many people yelling. Too many cries for help and not enough hands to offer aid. We have become a generation of "borrowers" instead of inventors.  We borrow the strifes, and we share in the grief. Yet, four years ago we believed in something called change. We have forgotten, I have forgotten, that change is not brought on by one man. Change is a movement paraded by the masses. Change is one voice speaking calmly and clear. Change is for the visionaries, not the movie goers.

I want my generation to show this country our innovative genius. No matter the leader, we need to be rallying the troops. Because things are not going to change without us. We are the writers, the teachers, the assistants, the students...we are the next ones in line.

Will we be ready when it's our turn?

Because this generation has a child's christmas list of wants, and a poor man's grocery list of needs.

I want to see my friends get jobs. I want to see our economy grow and prosper. 

But what I need? I need change. I need a stronger America. I need my voice.

Four years ago, I was sheltered from these thoughts. My thought process ended with my whines and wants, and I always just assumed the right people already knew my needs. But now it's my turn and yours to inform them. While I'm waiting in line I'm getting my thoughts together, and forming new ideas. I'm looking inside to bring back out the inventor.  We need to invent our generation and give ourselves a cause. We need to write our words in one another's hand, choosing every word that is wise and every breath that is warranted.

Because, as for me, when it's my turn, I'm not one to approach the podium without a speech.




Who's The Boss?

Rainy Wednesdays are good for two things in my book: blogging & organizing my hot mess of a living space. I can't even call it a room, because a room means it serves a defined purpose. The only purpose these four walls can be defined by is keeping my clothes dry.  But blogging comes first, then organizing (if I don't find something better to do).

There have been some notable changes in my life recently. I took on a new venture at work and to celebrate I bought myself a whole new wardrobe. The day after I received the news I found myself inevitably at Nordstroms, scouring the racks for the next big thing.

It's easy for us suburban sweeties to fall into a dull downfall. Realistically when you're in your twenties and you're trying to make ends meet, there's not a lot of time or mulah to freshen up your life with a trip to Paris. This is why the style gods invented malls, because with some good sleuthing and a knack for knowing what looks good even when it's off the hanger- you can look like you just got off the private jet.

When I first started my job, I remember thinking, 
Oh my god, everyone here is beautiful and I look like I just walked out of a Sears commercial. 

That first night after work, instead of enjoying dinner with my friends, I recruited them all on a mission. The goal? To make me look like I belonged working at a fashion company.

Little by little I began to piece new outfits together and heard about new stores to try. And yes, I did this all without the help of Pinterest. Who needs pinned pictures when my office is a fashion runway?

When they say, "fake it till you make it," they're not kidding. It's taken me a little over a year to really grasp this new adult sense of style I've acquired, and believe me it's still a work in progress.  On days where I hit the "sleep please button," my good ole black pants and tank top make a comeback. Because although I try, I will never be the girl who never has a sad style day. I mean, I wore pink corduroys in high school...let's be serious.  Girl is gonna have a miss, but she sure as hell is going to have some wins. It's important to keep in mind that as we're trying to figure out the new us and redefine our "living spaces" into big girl rooms...we're expanding ourselves and challenging our comfort zones. 

Cause there will come the day when we're the boss. We'll be the chic working woman that the high-school-looking new hire is looking up to. I think I might actually make a powerpoint for them. With slides like, "Only a watch? Where's your stackable bracelets?" and "Wear flats on model store days."

This is my favorite part of fashion and working in this field. It's a teaching industry, where above all, you learn about yourself. It's a community full of men and women who are self starters and explorers. 

Only brave & stylish souls need apply, for when you work on the runway, you are constantly redefining and unearthing new trending terrain.




Breakfast Betrayal

When I’m done with a workout, I look like hell. When the girl two treadmills down from me is done, she has this mesmerizing glow and her makeup looks remarkably better than when she first walked in. What gives?  Well, I’ll tell ya. She’s not working off that muffin she had for breakfast.

But, let me back up. Saturday morning was the first day of fall, or rather was deemed the first day of fall by all of my facebook friends and the numerous tweets trending #firstfallday. This is a day to be celebrated. Brand new season means brand new fashion and brand new treats. Starbucks brings forth the Pumpkin Spice Latte from the Seattle vault, and Dunkin Donuts delights us with the comeback of the Pumpkin Muffin, which happens to be my favorite

Upon reading the news(feed) and hearing tweets trending Fall, I raced to Dunkin to start my Saturday off right…with a delicious, albeit perfect, Pumpkin Muffin.

It was everything I hoped for. It sat there on the shelf at Dunkin and just stared me down like a hundred dollar bill. I knew I wanted it. My eyes lit up like seeing an old friend. I could not wait for our reunion. While blissfully eating said muffin I had no idea I was being deceived. This muffin was worse for me than having a Big Mac for breakfast. This muffin was half the calories I should consume in the average day. My Pumpkin Muffin was a Big Mac and then some in DISGUISE. The ultimate betrayal.

So, here I am at the gym, working off the 600 calories of deceit, all the while wishing I had the metabolism to support such desires. All this on my mind, while the girl next to me sprints and is somehow managing to read 50 Shades of Grey. Like how is she doing this? How are you reading and running like an Olympian sprinter? Are you even reading???

Some things we’ll never have the answers to. Is this girl really reading? Should 50 Shades of Grey been published? And why for the love of all that is delish… is my pumpkin muffin pumped full of sugar steroids?!

Answer me Dunkin. Or get on the fat free train.




A Good Plan

 Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

These song lyrics have become an anthem for me these days. Every time I hear this song, I remember to breathe. I like what Phil is saying, trying to show us that all we need to do is relax… I get that. 

I just can’t do that...very well.

I like planning so much I bought a second agenda. I like knowing. I love writing in dates with colorful pens. In third grade my teacher had us pick out our favorite quotes. She must have thought I was quite a sight, getting up before the class…and I’m not talking about my obscene love for butterfly clips. My predecessors had quotes from the latest Power Rangers episode, familiar spice girl’s lyrics, and as for me? I read my speech about Sir Francis Bacon and ended with my favorite quote, “Knowledge is power.”

I got an A on the presentation, but also a meeting with my teacher about what the quote meant. I’m pretty sure she thinks my parents put me up to it. Little did I know it was a combination of my inner nerd and my need to know. I fell madly in love in third grade with the idea that the more you know, both worldly and intimate, the more you can offer the world, and the greater legacy you leave.  I have, like many of my classmates grown up in a community where being average was acceptable, but above average was desirable. Being above average and having a plan on how to get there… that was my idea of a gold star at the end of the day.

They say that God gives you the same struggle until you overcome it. And I think the big guy is trying to show me when and where I need to let go. I have always been a Type A personality, that’s not going anywhere. But to live in the moment and not to plan everything? Not to know everything? This is a struggle for me. The worst part is that I’m up against my biggest rival…myself.

We all grow up with a plan, whether we make it or society presents it to us, there is a plan constantly in front of us.  The thing no one ever told me about my plans is that one day they will change. One day I’m going to wake up and scratch some things out, reschedule a lot, and add even more. So, I’m starting to write more and more with my mechanical pink pencil. Because sometimes I’m going to have to erase and sometimes I’m going to have to draw some arrows to another day. 

I’m learning that while I love a good plan… I love life’s surprises even more.




#NFF (Not for Facebook)

I've been noticing a lot lately that there has been a ton of hate on the usage of the almighty hashtag via fb. This got me thinking. Are there really things is this world that we shouldn't publicize? And is it truly the downfall of social media ettiquette to implant a hastag in the fb world?  Well friends... I mulled over this on my run today. And I'm still gonna use the hashtag, but here are some things that are truly #NFF... Not for Facebook:

1.  Announcing your single. You go girl, you have my support. But really? Make a guy work for it.
2.  Pictures of everything you do in a day. I'm waiting for the day when I see someone on the toilet.
3.  Announcing you're getting drunk.
4.  Tagged photos of yourself where you don't look amazing. Untagging isn't a privilege. It's a right.
5.  Marilyn Monroe quotes. #totesfiveminutesago
6.  Secrets. Or alluding to having a secret. OR having a status about someone and we all know it's about someone. We get it. You & a pal are having issues. Call them.
7.  Debbie Downers. We all have bad days. Tweet about it.
8.  That photo of you doing a beer bong. And then making it your cover photo. #unemployment
9.  If your relationship is a dram fest... maybe use the private message option? Or not. We all have those fb pals that belong on Days of Our Lives.
10. Apps that tell you whose viewed your profile. #ignoranceisbliss
11. Sad lyrics as your status. #cryforhelp
12. Self shot mirror photos.  Put that trash on myspace.
13. Political tirades... half my fb friends are running for President.
14. Emoticon overload. Pick one emotion. Not twelve.
15. "Let me know how you feel about me" OR "Leave a memory about you and I" OR "Truth is"
16. Announcing you're unfriending people. Newsflash: no one cares.
17. If you're with someone, talk to them. Posts like "Oh hey I'm right next to you" make me wonder... did you lose your ability to speak?
18.  Bragging about yourself. Show us, don't TELL us how awesome you are. #instagramit
19.  Checking into your own home. There are no words here.

and last but not least

20. Hashtags #butimstillgonnauseit ;)

Come on friends, let's put the fun back in facebook.




Falling into Fall

One thing I miss about college? Shopping for the back to school debut. You know the moment. You're back from summer and you're looking the best. In those first three months of being back at the grind, you're still all about the gym with your 5 times a week workouts at 5 am. Your munch of choice? The ripe delicious raspberries you just picked up from the farmers market. You're lookin good friend. Plus it doesn't hurt that you just bought a whole new fall wardrobe, full of a great transitional trench coat and riding boots that make your walk look like you're strutting down the runway. You are, overall, back in action. Back to school is the commoner's comeback. 

And then fall sets in. Your riding boots have faded from the rich whiskey color they once were and getting up at 5 am to work out sounds about as awful as the cookies you had for dinner. So, begrudgingly we fall into fall and the summer glow fades. This fall however, I am challenging myself and my mindset. Fall fashions are ironically the ones that require a fit form and can provide the catalyst for a styling evolution.  Although college is now a whole year in my history, I still look to fall as the movie that's worth buying tickets for the midnight show. In my personal life I acknowledge that I have chosen to live summer to summer. After all, despite our culture we all have our ways of marking the years that fly by. We walk through life as individuals on distinct platforms. Some see minutes as moments, and others see hours by years. And yet when fall rolls around, it is a universal coin flip where fate waves hello. 

For myself, I am approaching fall with one thing on my mind, myself and riding boots. I say "myself" because, although this is not a "back to school" fall for me, it is in the sense that life has become my greatest and most difficult class. And this fall, hopefully while wearing a pair of riding boots that fit over my calves, I can return for what I think will be a year of monumental lessons.  It's funny how at the age of 22 we're still invincible and so childish. And then 23 presents itself as the reality check we were  trying to avoid. But I remain steadfast in my excitement. And I'm encouraged by the inspiration that has drawn me back to writing more often. My blog will begin to adopt more structure which hopfully will be mirrored in my life as well. But who knows? 

When falling into fall, we never quite know where we'll land.




The Seventh Month

While it's true I've traded city side streets for suburban sidewalks, I maintain the thought that everyday is a room full of mirrors and every morning you chose what you reflect out to the world around you.  Lately my style has been very reflective of my life. Muted and calm pastels have replaced bold colors and black has taken a vacation until the fall. Right now is a calming season, a relaxing summer which I sporadically sprinkle with moments of vivacity and rich color.

July is a beautiful time to find yourself in summer. It's the crux of the summer love story, and its probably my favorite month out of all twelve. In a world where we're always running out of time, the seventh month seems to push us back into our lawn chairs and say,
"It's ok pal, have another Summer Shandy with me and we'll plan the future when August joins in."

So, now back in my lawn chair I think about the colors that have taken over this season. How mint green has given the rainbow a refreshing taste of something different. A thirst quenching taste of the new and the intriguing. Romantic rose colored glasses have made optimism contagious and suddenly quite stylish. Tantalizing rhinestones gave faceted stones a new-found royalty, while ivory became the new white.

If you're like me and you find yourself a month or two behind at times, take a deep breath and turn up Phillip Phillips on the radio. Roll the windows down and pull into your nearest downtown sanctuary. You know the place. Where boutiques are like dandelions and the price is worth the ensemble.

Your summer love story isn't at the end yet!  After all friend, we're only in the middle.


Fleeting Fashion

Everyone has different facets to what makes their fashion great. Style can be present for years and never leave us, for example denim flared jeans or your favorite black cardigan. Can't go wrong there. Then there are style moments reserved for seasons or special occasions, like your white shorts or or over-sized Moon Boots. I love style that exists in small periods of time as I have found that it is when we are at our most creative.  When we can step outside our everyday wardrobe and dress the part... we find ourselves dancing outside of our clothing comfort and into a costume that reflects a unique part of us. A part that we don't always let shine.

This is what I like to call fleeting fashion; a small moment in time where you show the world your brilliant imagination and let your clothes do the talking. I love days like this and actually found myself a witness to this fleeting fashion phenomenon while in Chicago. 

On Saturday, Chicago's Wrigley Field became home to country lovers, singers, and players. The country fashionistas came out to play and they made sure to have their country getups in full force. For one day boots were the obvious choice in 90 degree heat and if your jeans were cuffed... well you better find some scissors! Thick belts sinched the waists of denim dresses, while boys zipped up their tight blue jeans and slanted their cowboy hats. For six hours city girls left their Longchamp totes at home and for a night boys traded their Sperrys for boots.

For one day Clark Street became an extension of Nashville and Wrigley Field served as a home to rodeos, not baseball games. I have to say, I've never seen this space so greatly used. ;)

I think this is what lures me into the world of country so much, for not only does the music transport me into an endless summer, but the people that gather for it present a stylish mural that leaves me inspired. For one day I wore my hair in long curls, slipped into a black cotton dress, and cursed like a sailor that I couldn't find my boots. For a day Chicago's style went country and it was beautiful. Never have I seen so many smiling faces and felt those carefree vibrations that only the strum of a guitar can conjure.  This is what "fleeting fashion" does to us. It says come outside and make the sidewalks your stage. It dares us to up the ante and display our passions, to have a show & tell sesh with the world outside.

Fleeting fashion doesn't just have to be something that we wait for though, we are in control of when these moments arise. Choose a random day and challenge yourself to show the world a new facet of your fashion. Don't wait for Chicago to go country... Go country and have dare Chicago to follow you.




Mint Green Jeans [Little Things]

Warm sunny days, starry nights, & my mint green jeans.

Some days it's the little things that keep us going. Summer time is here and I've gotta say, the fact I can wear a sundress anytime I want makes me smile pretty wide in the morning. There is something grand about picking out your outfit in the morning. You're picking out the day.  There are some mornings where I still feel like I'm playing dress up as I slip on black pants. This girl in the mirror? Who's this girl? I arrive at my Starbucks, order my grown up coffee, and eventually sit at my own desk, with my own e-mail. It is here that I reply to all the questions that seemingly appeared overnight. And heck, maybe I'll send out a few of my own.

There's something in the air when you're leading this double life. One minute you're polished for business, but after 5, you're back outside, walking with friends wearing your mint green jeans.

I'm young and I've got this thing called time on my side, or so I'm told. Time for me has become a funny song, that lulls me to sleep and wakes me up with a look of raised eyebrows.

"Where you been girl?"

I've been listening to Rooftops & Invitations and remembering how it felt to sit at my new desk in my new dorm and have all my new friends come & knock on the door. 

In the middle of a meeting I want to say, "You know I've stayed up in a field just watching the stars?"

It's little things that don't fit on a resume. A typed out x-ray that leaves out all the guts, absent of the heart in a person. 

In the middle of stuffy country club conversation I laugh quietly about old jokes with old friends.

My friends and I dance to 80's cover bands in the town square of Woodstock. We drive to nowhere and we sing for the whole ride.  We wear mint green jeans and chapstick. We're a bunch of flowers and one by one we are plucked from the ground. Our roots cling on to one another, but we'd bloom brighter in a vase. Up on the kitchen counter, we still get the sun but no more nights in fields, no more getting caught in the rain.

I never want a life where I don't get caught in the rain. And once a year I want a night spent in the fields, watching the stars, after a car ride to nowhere.

Because it's the little things I tell people. It's my mint green jeans.




Earning [Her] Wings

I'm earning my wings. That's what I keep telling myself at least.  Three months in and you'd think I've never known hardship. Never endured struggle.  Weak. Weak. Weak.

But I'm only three months in. Roughly 90 days of training and each day is a new challenge that when my feet hit the ground I feel ready and willing to meet.

I'm not training for the United States Air Force. I'm the girlfriend of someone who is.

I'm the voice at the end of short phone calls. I'm the plane ticket being bought time and time again.
I'm the loneliness that knocks on the door but is never welcomed inside. I'm the text messages that just say "I love you." I'm the argument of why a piece of a paper can decide someone's fate. I'm the Google screen showing air forces bases and locations.  I'm the "civilian" who doesn't know what a B-2 is or why its so impressive. I'm the memories of everything left behind. I'm the smile through the tears. I'm the hug that you never want to end.

I'm one lucky USAF 2nd Lieutenant's gal.

The basic training we go through isn't like the tech school or basic endured by the ones we love. It's a different kind, a kind where character is tested and strength is heavily weighed upon. We don't have the companionship shared by a unit working towards a common goal. We lead normal, individual, civilian lives and have friends who try but cannot fully fathom the pain and joy that comes with being adopted into this situation.

When I met my boyfriend I knew and agreed upon these terms of a military courtship. He'd be there and I'd be here, and that was just fine. Up until he left. For days I cried, for weeks I tried not to, and for months I've waited.

I'm writing this post to acknowledge the other women/men I know currently in my situation and to say that you are not alone. In fact, I'm beginning to find that people in our situation are the least alone. It has been hard though. My Sunday brunch was cancelled, my Friday nights became girl nights, and my Saturdays are now used for Skype. There's no easy way to wake up to your life being changed, least of all having it change without your consent or control. Especially when you're not trained to accept words on a piece of paper or orders without a reason why. 

We are left with the task of regaining our footing, finding our new normal, and offering unconditional support to something that we don't always understand. We are left to keep going.

At the end of the day we come to the realization that the people far away from us are not the only ones training for the United States Air Force. I'm training for the USAF as well.  Though, lucky for me, my boot camp consists of a much comfier bed, my uniform is far more stylish, and my unit consists of family & friends that have been nothing short of a blessing.

I'm earning my wings, I tell myself. After all, I've always loved a new pin.




Heavy Material

86% of young women will have had, or will fall victim to, an eating disorder by the age of 20.

The mortality rate of girls with anorexia is 12 times higher than any other cause of death for girls 15-24 years of age.

We're killing ourselves to be thin, ladies. Because nothing tastes as good as being thin. 

If you believe this, I suggest you go to your nearest Sprinkles and try a cupcake. Because I've never met a cupcake that I didn't like.

I weigh 140 pounds. I run every other day for an average of 3-4 miles and I wear a size 6. And 95% of the time I look in the mirror...I love what I see.

We as women are living in a society where we are supposed to do it all. But may I remind you, my friends, that even Rome wasn't built in a day. Letting yourself go hungry, or "forgetting" to eat, is not normal and should not be the legacy our generation of women leaves behind. I want future generations to look upon us with awe at our accomplishments and ideas...not the size of our pants.

This post is not to point the finger at the media and play the card of victim. We choose to feed into these stereotypes and beliefs.  We choose to make an unreal image a fantastical reality. We choose to care more about being skinny than strong, being thin over toned, and being sick over self-satisfied.

I want there to be a movement where we strive for health and a create a new image that we can look upon and say, "We decided this is what beautiful is, and you won't tell us any different."  

It took me a long time to scale the mountain of self-acceptance, but the view from up here needs to be shared. After all, we are the emerging generation, the girls who are going to run the world. We can't do that if we're watching our scales instead of salaries.  Those of us climbing, know that it is okay to reach out for a lift, and those of us at the top, don't forget about your sisters still struggling. Love is the answer to so many of the world's issues, and it's the only response to this word problem.

Look in the mirror and say it. Tell yourself I love you.  Next step? 

Choose health. Choose a legacy that you're proud of, and give future generations something to read about...choose change.




Summer 2012: A Sneak Preview

Sometimes when I'm driving with the windows down I feel like Lauren Conrad...and then I remember I'm in a Honda CRV not a convertible.

But hey, both of our close friends call us by our initials...so that's something right?

Today is beautiful and it feels like summer. So naturally I begin to want to watch every season of Laguna Beach. Which, unsurprisingly leads my wandering thoughts to summer.

Summer 2012 is almost upon us and the retailers are beckoning to us to get ready now...the nice weather is here so go find your shorts.  The trends this season are both recycled and new, bringing with them a bright perspective on the future while giving a nod to past fashion formulas.   

If you've stopped by Express lately, you've witnessed the explosion of turqs and corals that took over the white walls. Now don't hand over your nautical navy and white to Plato's Closet just yet. First, you'll get like three bucks, and second nautical is here to stay. The updated navy and white is now navy and turquoise, allowing us girls caught in the brights v.s. nautical crossfire to enjoy the color play of both styling worlds.

Next we have neons...it seems as if the hipsters and their highlighter ray bans have won this round. Neon everything is going to be creeping around every fitting room corner, just waiting to accent your cute black mullet dress. Don't fight it. I will admit that initially every being in my neutral palette felt dizzy at the thought of turning the accessory lights on. But after some thought...and a few trend meetings later, I've come to appreciate the youthful fresh take on the re-energized 90's trend and have even been one to participate. This weekend I'll be sporting neon wedges and I can not wait for their debut.  The only issue that arrives with neons is who's the one stopping street style traffic? The amazing outfit or those incredibly bright shoes???  But I can share the style spotlight with my heels, after all they give me the lift I need every morning.

My next all time favorite for this Spring/Summer reflects my soft spot for trash with class. Ladies and gents, I give you the Mullet Skirt.  Short in the front and long in the back, it is the ultimate must-have this season. Not only is it flattering on almost everyone, but it's an easy can-do update to all those maxi skirts we all have five of, along with allowing our mini skirt champ to add some class to her everyday wardrobe. When wearing the mullet skirt, everyone is a winner.  If you're looking for some good ones (some of them are mullet skirt knock-offs and are just awkward lengths...please note: if it looks weird on the hanger...it will most likely look weird-er on you) Khols has brought in the new Spring/Summer Lauren Conrad pieces, one of which is a coral colored mullet skirt that has a stretch band waist. We know what our pal P'Trique be saying, #totesamaze all the way home. 

AKIRA also has some good mullet skirts in animal prints. These have a mini skirt in the front and then a train in the back. If you're not 100% sold, I'd go with the LC version for fashion forward beginners. The AKIRA styles are definitely for the girl who wants to be in a street style blog, not on the beach talking with Steven.  Maybe that's why Kristin is already sporting it!

So go out and create your new Spring/Summer style friends. 
With the arrival of a new season, it's the recreation of a new you!




Beautiful Girl.

Some nights are just meant for the tears. Some nights are supposed to be a photo of you sitting alone.  I'm constantly learning, constantly growing, and every morning I awake to see the world a little more exposed.

I remember when I graduated high school. I needed Ingrid Michaelson to lull me to sleep. I needed my boyfriend to fix every problem, and I needed to look like the girls in the magazines. I needed things...I was grasping for air, which consistently fled from my clasped hands.

I remember my ex showing me a photo of his ex. Her slender frame and edgy haircut.

I looked at the mirror and held up the photo. She was Nicole Richie. I was a pink crayon.

Do you ever feel that when you fall into the valley, your old grey dreams come out of their caves to say hello? When you fall for a moment, you remember, and the memory plays the slides of years passed, your closed eyes offering the screen.

My parents always called me independent. During days at the park, my brother would cling to my mother for fear of social quicksand. Whereas I've always been known to welcome the sporadic eruptions of lava. I feel that's how life should be lived, with periods of calm, pictures of beauty, and eruptions of hot lava pouring everywhere.

I've been known to grow restless. I can sit still for hours. My parents loved this while I was a child. Sitting still was easy...my imagination ran away. The typewriter in my head always needs time to catch up with the reels of film I keep on file.

Somehow, I grew up to be a strong woman. I'll never quite know how this happened, so I look up to God and say thank you very much.  I still have my flaws and I still have the wounds that everyday become little bit more whole.

I remember my mother saying in our old house in Atlanta, "if you can pinch an inch..."

I looked in the mirror at my stomach and thought "lady... I can grab a mile."

At the age of twenty two I now look in the mirror and smile. 

My friends ask me about my successes and failures in love and to them I always say, "I love myself, which should be good enough reason for someone else to."

I never understood letting insecurities wear your crown. I look at the girls in magazines and still prefer what I see in the mirror. That is success of the self I say. That is when you're on your way to becoming the woman our generation needs.  Harvesting strength and casting out weakness.

So tonight I'm gathering up my strength. Some things that life hands you are meant to be held. You hold them until you grow. So this new challenge is a challenge from the woman inside me.

Challenge is always glittering with opportunity, you just need to let the sun in to see it shimmer.




Big Red Heart Day

Just got back from the gym and all I want to do is write. Valentine's Day is tomorrow so get ready for the engagement circus and don't even try getting into a decent restaurant without a reservation. Despite the inner conflict I feel with this hallmark holiday, I spent the last two hours at the gym trying to get sexy ready for my little red number debuting tomorrow night. It's my first Valentine's Day with my boyfriend and I could not be more excited to see what he has in store. So far all I know is 9:3o pm...be downtown.

As excited as I am for tomorrow... my boyfriend is not my only Valentine. I'm tired of girls and boys hating on this holiday because of the "coupling" that is forced upon their "poor single souls".

Listen up friends, I've been single before on Valentine's Day and like most things in life, it's what you make it. For me, the big red heart day is a day of remembrance. It's remembering the people you love and letting them know that they are dearly cherished.  My girlfriends (boyfriend or no boyfriend) will always be my Valentines.. because as I see it, they're the ones who have never missed a birthday, never forgot to call, and have always made my heart happy.

Do yourself a favor and stop frowning at the romantic marathons on T.V. and give your friends a call. Because tomorrow is a day for loving on one another, not a day to sit and be (dare I say it)... single.

Single is a state of mind friends...not a status.

Oh and by the way, Happy Valentine's Day :)




It's the middle of winter here in the big I.L. and I have to say I'm ready for some summer.  Although this season's winter fashions are better than ones of the past, I feel myself looking to the sky and tapping my foot till the sun breaks through. This weekend is Style Max here in Chicago and I honestly could not be more excited.  What fun trends await us? Here in the Midwest, us fashionistas gotta make do with what the Big East and Wild West send our way. Being the step child of style isn't ideal, but with where we're situated, it's a fact of fashion.  The is my favorite Style Max to work in, because its all about looking forward. It's debuting a brand new season and brand new ideas. 

And when you're feeling like everything is the same, something brand new jump-starts the heart.

In a few weeks, the day after Valentine's Day to be precise, my boyfriend will begin his officer duty in the U.S. Air Force. I never pictured myself in this position. I've done the distance dance before and while it's completely doable, its also exhausting. Instead of looking up new fashion blogs, I'm looking up air force bases. I'm joining support groups instead of book clubs. I'm spending every precious moment with him instead of a more balanced existence. It's not easy but I would not change a thing.

I think what startles me the most is that I've never been the one left behind before. I've always been the one leaving. I grew up moving around the U.S (as I've mentioned in past posts) and for me, the goodbyes always meant a long car ride to the next big adventure. The thrill of newness is a roller coaster, but I guess I forgot that the ride is about the screams, but also the moments needed to catch your breath. You can't spend your life screaming upside down...and you can't stay upright...you just have to stay in motion. The comfort of familiarity warms my spirit like nothing else. Saying goodbye and staying behind is my new adventure, minus the car ride. Right now my roller coaster is creeping up the mountain. And I'm craving that next big thrill.

Life and fashion aren't so different.  There's the memories you hang onto with the same grip you use to cling to that vintage pendant or faded pair of jeans. You wear them throughout your life, and they sustain you while you're searching for your next style swerve. They enhance your outfit and give you that same glow that comes from knowing real love. They're the sentimental pieces, the ones that the moment they represent matter more than the piece itself. They're the pieces you received when you were screaming.

Fashion, unlike most things in this crazy world, is self propelling. It wants to grow and it cannot be restrained to some dull sense of normalcy. Fashion keeps us in motion even when we're tempted to try and be still. It craves the unknown with its flips and turns, always pulling us back onto the ride... even it if means waiting in line.



We Love You Facebook.

Facebook is the People Magazine with people you actually know. A guilty pleasure of mine is going through people’s profile picture albums. Why? Because you can tell a lot from a person's profile picture album, and usually, with all the privacy settings these days, it’s the only album people feel completely comfortable displaying. The profile picture album is an evolution of self, and thanks to Facebook, you are the editor of your own evolution. Let’s face it. You don’t just throw up any photo. You know the exact moment when a “profile picture” flash has gone off and the camera has dimmed. Your smile is sparkling and your skin is flawless. You look like a celebrity, which is perfect…because Facebook has granted you the stage. The paparazzi? Your 657 “friends.” The comments can be left on any thought you choose to share with your public. We can show our affection through “likes” and we can show our annoyance with facebook chat banter.

My boyfriend is always yelling at me to “get off facebook.” Which, I find immensely amusing, given the fact that if I ever asked him to “get off ESPN Fantasy Football” or god forbid “get off the internet and skip setting your line-up”…this would unleash the gates of hell. My reply to him is always the same, “I'm checking what’s going on in the world.” I check CNN too…but the news on Facebook is far less dismal and much more interesting.

With the stage open, we each have our one act play: The Status.  Either you’ll get rave reviews with “likes” and “need a love button” or the people will shun you... casting their written retorts or even worse…their silent indifference.  The older we get, the more our statuses share. Between all the engagements, babies, big moves, new jobs, and jolts of epiphanies I read about on a daily basis, it’s truly inspiring to see all that is going on in all of our little lives. For that is the one thing Facebook drops its curtain around, The Big Picture. Facebook is an enabler of small town celebrities, a supporter of ignorant declarations, and a window to the world of close mindedness.

And yet… I love every minute of it. Facebook is my favorite gossip blog. I always check in. I tag every photo. And yes, it even bugged me when my boyfriend was reluctant to be “facebook official.” Without facebook I’d never know about the high school friends I haven’t talked to since high school. I’d miss the 30 albums that some girls feel the need to post (we get it… your life is clearly glamorous), but most importantly, I’d miss the funny thoughts, inspiring adventures, and sentimental pictures that I share with my fabulous friends on a day-to-day basis.

Andy Warhol was a wise man for many reasons. One observation lights up now in my mind, 

In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”

Leave it to Generation Y to go above and beyond. 15 minutes? Nah.

I'd prefer a lifetime.




tales of a [townie]

I spent tonight at the local coffee shop talking about life with the same friends I've had since high school. We grew up together, and like a good pair of jeans, they have weathered through of all life's changes and rough patches with me.  I call a small town in the Midwest home. True, New York is my mother, but this small town raised me. I heard a quote from a wise young man I recently met. He said, "It takes a village to raise a child." I've never heard something I could relate to so well.

You'd never know all three of us were college graduates, all decked in the sweats and scarves, saving style for tomorrow morning.  We talked about how here we are in winter and everything seems to be going wrong. We all have our struggles. Between imminent goodbyes, the quest for a full-time job, and the teetering balance between youth and finding wisdom...we're holding our umbrellas up even under the sun.

Following our coffee date, my best friend Sarah and I went driving. We drove, and much like the modernists before us, we found comfort in life's mobility...the chance to never quite belong.  Belonging to some is a novelty, to many an opportunity, and to few a fear. The freedom that comes with such constant motion has been a key local for my best writing inspirations. Driving around makes you look around yourself, brings back memories and makes you think.

I turned to Sarah,

“this town feels like a story that’s ended. and we’re the ones hanging around in the last chapter.”

She nodded and knew all too well what I meant. We played the old punk rock that used to offer my wild spirit solace and we drove together in silence, save the occasional comment about what would be our next big adventure.  It's times like tonight where I thank God for the friends I've been blessed with. I don't say it enough, but entering in 2012, I'm happy and honored to have the same friendships since my teen years. 

For, even though it seems like a faint light in the distance, success, love, and blessings are in store for us all... We just have to wait for the next chapter to begin. It's always in between books that things seem open ended. But winter is a 5 month test of the will.  If you want your sunshine, go out and make it, nature can't always be handing you a good start to your day. Going forward I'm hoping to adopt more of this mentality, and enjoy this plateau that I've seemingly come upon. It's an adjustment, that's for sure. After all the work of high school and college, life after college doesn't come with homework. Yet, it presents the most daunting task any of us have ever seen... building your life. Putting these pieces together is what separates the success stories and the townie tales.

So hello 2012. How nice of you to stop by...



PS. More fashion articles to come. 2012 is a year for good writing!