Seeking Salvation

16 Jul

New York City, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Travel, Lifestyle Blog: Salvation Mountain, desert fashion, floral cropped top, wrap skirt, cat-eye sunglasses
New York City, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Travel, Lifestyle Blog: Salvation Mountain, desert fashion, floral cropped top, wrap skirt, cat-eye sunglasses
New York City, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Travel, Lifestyle Blog: Salvation Mountain, desert fashion, floral cropped top, wrap skirt, cat-eye sunglasses
New York City, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Travel, Lifestyle Blog: Salvation Mountain, desert fashion, floral cropped top, wrap skirt, cat-eye sunglasses
New York City, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Travel, Lifestyle Blog: Salvation Mountain, desert fashion, floral cropped top, wrap skirt, cat-eye sunglasses

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” Roald Dahl

On our desert adventure Liz made sure we stopped by the legendary, yet surprisingly vacant, Salvation Mountain. This place was one of the most beautifully quirky and unique works of art I have ever seen (I am not sure what else to call it, it has to be art). The castle, of sorts, made entirely of local adobe clay and donated paint, was created by a man named Leonard Knight as his personal tribute to God.

I am not one who identifies with any specific, organized religion. I have established my own personal beliefs and defined a version of faith that works for me (and it is one of the few topics I typically choose to keep to myself, and will continue to do so). But, regardless of who or what you believe in, there is no way to not have some level of appreciation for the individual who so fully devoted himself to creating something this bright and beautiful that was based solely upon good intentions. His motivation was not to have his Mountain be seen by others or to make a name for himself, but simply to turn a sentiment he felt strongly about in his heart into something tangible. The most prominent message I personally walked away with was one of love. Love and dedication.

“DON’T GET COMPLICATED WITH LOVE, LET’S KEEP IT SIMPLE” – Leonard Knight

Now love is a “religion” I can get on board with. In an ideal world, I think it is the universal religion. I am a hopeless romantic…a lover of love. My heart beats for the people around me. My heart beats for Mr. Knight (cannot resist a Keroac shout, but it is true — “the only people for me are the mad ones“. My heart beats for those who have worked to maintain this astounding structure since his passing…just because. My heart beats for friends, family, life, and experiences. And this particular experience is one will go down in my personal record book of memories, for sure. <3

*head to toe: Vint & York sunglasses, Signure8 crop top, skirt from ThreadSense (similar style here), L’Avenue slippers by LMN

Photos by Liz Cherkasova

Deserted

10 Jul

New York, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: bohemian dress, floral frock, hippie sunglasses, road trip life
New York, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: bohemian dress, floral frock, hippie sunglasses, road trip life
New York, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: bohemian dress, floral frock, hippie sunglasses, road trip life
New York, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: bohemian dress, floral frock, hippie sunglasses, road trip life
New York, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: bohemian dress, floral frock, hippie sunglasses, road trip life

I always heard people say that in New York they could be in the most crowded room, surrounded by excitement and interesting, stimulating people, yet still feel completely alone. I am no stranger to loneliness, and I think this is an emotion we all must feel from time to time. That said, I never really grasped how much these words rang true for me until I decided to leave New York three months ago.

I should start by saying that I love that NYC in such a unique and special way. I did so much growing up there, and am a much stronger individual for the trials and tribulations I was faced with along the way. But there will never come a day where driving over that bridge into the city won’t give me butterflies. It is energy in the purest of forms: a place fueled by ambition, adventure and chaos. I love that I lived there, but I love that I left when I did.

Paris has been an amazing and refreshing change of pace for me. However, I am currently on a (hopefully short-lived) French hiatus, spending July in California, as I sort out my visa situation. The process is frustrating, but I am trying to make the most of it…

I am a creative person. I thrive when working on creative projects and pursuing out-of-the-box ideas. I love working but it is also extremely important to me that I am working for the right reasons. I cannot handle living a life where my job leaves me unfulfilled. In my mind, that is just signing myself up for an unfulfilling life.

That said, I do hit roadblocks aplenty, where I lose stimulation. Sometimes this requires “falling off the grid”, so to speak, and doing everything I can to clear my head and revitalize my mind. Fortunately I have likeminded friends who not only understand this but also experience similar challenges, working in similar industries…

So, I spent the past couple days embarking on a mini-road trip with one of my nearest and dearest friends, Liz, absorbing the polar opposite of what I am used to. Exploring the many, many wonders of the vast and almost entirely vacant desert (and take my word, there is some quirky shit out there), driving on empty roads, and singing to Fleetwood Mac – reflecting on what is actually important in life the whole way through.

Sometimes it is the only way to remember everything is to see and feel nothing for a minute. To just let go and live.

*head to toe: Chilli Beans sunglasses, Threadsense floral hippie dress (I could live in this), LMN L’Avenue silk slippers

Photos by Liz Cherkasova

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The Balancing Act

7 Jul

Paris, New York City, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cat-eye sunglasses, red lipstick, lightweight swing coat, striped sweater, tweed trousers, leather sandals
Paris, New York City, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cat-eye sunglasses, red lipstick, lightweight swing coat, striped sweater, tweed trousers, leather sandalsParis, New York City, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cat-eye sunglasses, red lipstick, lightweight swing coat, striped sweater, tweed trousers, leather sandals
Paris, New York City, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cat-eye sunglasses, red lipstick, lightweight swing coat, striped sweater, tweed trousers, leather sandals
Paris, New York City, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cat-eye sunglasses, red lipstick, lightweight swing coat, striped sweater, tweed trousers, leather sandals
Paris, New York City, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cat-eye sunglasses, red lipstick, lightweight swing coat, striped sweater, tweed trousers, leather sandals
Paris, New York City, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cat-eye sunglasses, red lipstick, lightweight swing coat, striped sweater, tweed trousers, leather sandals

People always tell me how “amazing life must be” and how “I’m so lucky for being able to go on all of these adventures”. While I am grateful that these lovely individuals, for some reason, seem to care enough to follow along and join me on my confused journey, I must also say that I never intended to give the wrong impression (that being the impression I am living a glamorous, or even an easy, life). There are already plenty of blogs you can visit to get your fix on that false sense of reality. I have always made an effort to avoid being one of them. It isn’t all about rainbows and fairy dust…nobody’s life is perfect. The latest Celine bag or a super expensive camera just won’t solve it all (not that I wouldn’t love to have both). ;)

Before I go on, I know that I have a good life. I am thankful for the fact that I can walk, talk, and think for myself every single day. But this isn’t what I am about to get into…

I started OnTheRacks about six years ago, and it has served as a creative outlet for me to express my love for fashion, but also (and more importantly) to relate to people, and hopefully be someone others can relate to on a human level. I am humbled that some of you have stuck around to respect and stand by the unpredictable lifestyle I chose to adopt. But, at the end of the day, that’s all it is, really…

Yes, I am “mad to live” (thank you to my once-friend Jeremy for inspiring the tattoo on my arm and to Mr. Matthew Houlemard for the amazing and nostalgic reminder as to why it is there). I will never quit my mission to find true love, happiness, and contentment. That isn’t luck, though, that is determination and an unwillingness to give up even when the world continuously sends signs saying I should…I am just too frustratingly stubborn to turn around and take the easy route. Thank goodness for that.

I get restless. I am anxious and I struggle. I am not rich. I am self-sufficient because I bust my fucking ass (not as a blogger, but as a consultant after 8+ years of hustling, most of which was spent at a “9 to 7″ gaining valuable full-time experience).

I don’t bounce around on “daddy’s dime”. In fact, what money I did have was ultimately stolen from me a few years back by the person I thought I could trust more than anyone else in the world. Bummer. Life goes on, and I can make my own money. Even if that does mean working 16 hour days…at least I can call it my own. And at the end of the day I feel contentment in knowing that I’m creating something at the same time.

I have been screamed at and I have had shoes thrown at me. I have experienced sexual harassment from bosses, and endured very lawsuit-worthy mistreatment from some “super cool” NYC fashion brands. I spent a few years pursuing a career path that I temporarily thought was leading me toward “living the dream” (whatever that even means). At the time I guess I thought this was having a chic apartment in Manhattan and finding success in the fashion industry that NYC is known for. Getting noticed by “important people” and wearing head-to-toe designer apparel. Making a name for myself in that traditional, “I work at Vogue” kind of way. But at what expense?

I opened my eyes and realized there were other ways to do that. Perhaps I am not there yet, but I would rather climb Mt. Everest and keep my dignity to “arrive”, or whatever, than succumb to one more second of that bullshit.

I am grateful for the experiences that led me to learn that my “lifelong dream” was way off point at an early age. I am grateful for the setbacks that gave me the courage to believe in myself enough to start my own business and thickened my skin to the extent that, at least on a professional level, it is nearly infrangible.

And yes, there has been many a morning where I wake up not knowing what in the world I will do with my life, and in all sincerity I do still have those mornings pretty frequently…where just moving is basically the hardest thing in the world. I guess I just chose to try and embrace them and acknowledge it as my mind telling my body that something is off. If you feel this way there must be something that you need to change, right? So just change it. Figure it out.

Not happy with your job? Quit.

Not happy with where you live? Move.

Not happy with your boyfriend? Dump him.

Not happy with your friends? Make new ones.

Maybe this is the worst advice ever, but I do believe that sometimes the only solution to finding happiness or getting out of a dark place is to throw caution to the wind and have enough confidence in yourself to believe you can “tough it out”, whatever the outcome. Perhaps all you really need is a wrecking ball and a firm belief that you have the spark and ambition to figure out how you’ll put the pieces back together after you break them, one way or another. I like being impractical. A lot of times its those decisions that make no sense to anyone but you that turn out to be the best ones.

This life here is all you’ve really got, so you might as well grab it by the fucking horns and take control, right? I choose to learn from the bullshit, swerve my way around any undesirable roadblocks, and persevere. I am trying to at least. And let me tell ya, if I can do it, you can too.

*head to toe: And Other Stories cat-eye sunglasses, Marine Layer tee, H&M coat, Trollbeads 5th Ave. BraceletStrathberry Scotland tote (exclusive discounts if you support their kickstarter — best bags ever), design by Loft trousers (awesome French brand, must check out) pants, Office block heel mules

Stepping Stones

2 Jun

NYC, Pars, Los Angeles: Fashion, Lifestle, Travel Blog: Hooded cape, cat-eye sunglasses, floral babydoll dress,  crossbody bag, cashmere tights, leather boots
NYC, Pars, Los Angeles: Fashion, Lifestle, Travel Blog: Hooded cape, cat-eye sunglasses, floral babydoll dress, crossbody bag, cashmere tights, leather boots
NYC, Pars, Los Angeles: Fashion, Lifestle, Travel Blog: Hooded cape, cat-eye sunglasses, floral babydoll dress,  crossbody bag, cashmere tights, leather boots
NYC, Pars, Los Angeles: Fashion, Lifestle, Travel Blog: Hooded cape, cat-eye sunglasses, floral babydoll dress,  crossbody bag, cashmere tights, leather boots
NYC, Pars, Los Angeles: Fashion, Lifestle, Travel Blog: Hooded cape, cat-eye sunglasses, floral babydoll dress,  crossbody bag, cashmere tights, leather boots

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. When it is over, I don’t want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular, and real. I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument. I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”  -Mary Oliver

When I read these words they really struck me in an interesting way. So I read them and reread them again, realizing that wherever you are in life – whether it is a place of confusion, joy, contentment, darkness, or anger – these words might actually hold the answer to just about everything. They could be the teacher of a life-altering and completely invaluable lesson…the lesson to welcome wonder and amazement with every ounce of your being, with an open mind and an open heart. A reminder that we should be far more afraid of letting the world pass us by than pondering all of the potential negative outcomes that may or may not result from taking actions based solely on curiosity and bravery. If something negative happens, at least something still happened. More often than not a blind leap of faith will result in an experience worthy of looking back on. A memory you wouldn’t otherwise hold 10, 20, 30 years from now.

Why wait until it’s over when we are here controlling “the now”. The past has come and gone, the only real way we can alter the future is by taking advantage of the present and making the most of it.

When it’s over, I don’t want to look back and wonder what could have been had I done things differently. I want to be proud of the the route I chose, simply because I chose to walk it, without taking too much time worrying about whether or not it was the safe, easy, smart or logical path. I want to take the world into my arms and feel confident that the world will take me back. Sometimes it will, sometimes it won’t, but I want to keep my arms open. I want to awaken my senses while I am still lucky enough to have them all.

Sure there will be bumps in the road, stairs to climb, rubble to trip and fall on along the way. It’s called life, and its these twists and turns that make it worth living. I want to get up and keep on walking just to see what it is I might find.

*head to toe: And Other Stories sunglasses, Massimo Dutti hooded coat (similar style here), H&M dress, Foley & Corinna crossbody clutch, Wolford cashmere tights, Acne Pistol booties

photos by Nathen McVittie

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Sticks and Stones

20 May

New York City Fashion, Paris Fashion,  Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Lightweight spring coat, v-neck blouse, cigarette jeans, Celine bag, vintage dior glasses, strappy sandals
New York City Fashion, Paris Fashion,  Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Lightweight spring coat, v-neck blouse, cigarette jeans, Celine bag, vintage dior glasses, strappy sandals
homeless5
New York City Fashion, Paris Fashion,  Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Lightweight spring coat, v-neck blouse, cigarette jeans, Celine bag, vintage dior glasses, strappy sandals
New York City Fashion, Paris Fashion,  Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Lightweight spring coat, v-neck blouse, cigarette jeans, Celine bag, vintage dior glasses, strappy sandals

“You can’t change how people treat you or what they say about you. All you can change is how you react to it.” -Gandhi 

You know what is pretty easy in this life? Being broken.

Everyone seems to be broken lately (and I am no means excluding myself here)…but the way in which some people choose to handle their internal struggles in a very external way completely baffles me.

None of us want to feel broken, yet we sit here, day after day, breaking each other — throwing stones. Gossiping, lying, taking advantage of others — I cannot help but wonder, does this make them feel better? We’re wasting too much time on the petty, insignificant bullshit, for the purpose of what? Having the last word? “Winning”? Why?

I’m not claiming to be a saint or anything, but I do try to help people when I can, and provide whatever support I am capable of while attempting to still take care of my own mental stability. Whether it be an ex-boyfriend, an unpredictable “partner”, a friend or even just an acquaintance, I find myself in situations (quite frequently) where people are calling on me for assistance without even considering the fact that they aren’t the only ones on this earth in need of a helping hand. People willing to take as if they were brought into this world to live on some kind of platinum, diamond-encrusted pedestal, but never willing to pay it forward or return a favor. Perhaps it has something to do with my tendency to be quite forward, or that I come across as more “broken” than they are – I am not really sure. But lately its starting to feel like I am a magnet that attracts people who believe in one-sided support, and frankly I’m getting over it.

I pride myself on being a good friend, daughter, sibling, companion…all of that. I try really hard to be caring towards the people I love. I try and assume the best of those I don’t know well enough to love (until proven wrong). We’re all fighting battles here, and if I can help someone with their inner battle, by all means I will try to. But I am no magician…I don’t have some special glue or a blowtorch (thank god) to help meld all of the shattered glass that is “your life”. I am working on piecing together my own broken parts. And frankly I am tired of getting fucked (unless it’s in the good kind of way, of course).

Sometimes I struggle in balancing the fine line that exists between offering favors and being a straight up pushover. I have NEVER been that girl, nor will I let myself become her. So my new goal is to avoid that tightrope…to know when to turn around and walk away.

This is probably one of the more angry posts I have written, and I try to avoid doing so. But this blog isn’t about rainbows and butterflies, and frustration is part of life. My life is no exception. That said, I will end it on a positive note…

Something I learned a few years back is that nobody is going to hold your hand through this life…you are dealt a deck of cards and it is up to you, and you alone, how you choose to play them. People are going to fail you and stab you in the back, but if you keep your heart open, even after it has been broken, you will be surprised to learn that for every 2 or 3 shit people in need of a wake up call, there is at least one who is amazing enough to make up for all of the disappointment. And if that isn’t enough, there’s always Karma…and I know for sure that bitch can bite.

The people who have caused me what I’ve felt to be malicious pain in the past few weeks are likely enduring their own troubles. Troubles much worse than mine. I mean, let’s be real…I am living in Paris, my troubles are few and far between. I have nothing to complain about. And with every betrayal comes a reminder of the type of person I don’t want to be, and the type of people I don’t need to surround myself with.

The harder the hurt, the stronger the lesson learned. The better I become.

*head to toe: Vintage Dior sunglasses, W Concept trench coat, Cooper & Ella blouse, Celine handbag (similar style here), DSTLD ripped skinny jeans, Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn Lupita sandals

p.s. Special thanks to my incredible mother for sending me THIS POST during a time of need. Thank you for reminding me that being “strong-willed” is actually a beautiful thing. We’re the brats whose “fierceness will change the world”. <#

Stop and Smell the Roses

15 May

NYC and Paris Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Clear cat-eye sunglasses, coral lipstick, wavy hair with bangs, suede biker jacket, floral bustier, mesh and leather A-line skirt, nude pumps
NYC and Paris Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Clear cat-eye sunglasses, coral lipstick, wavy hair with bangs, suede biker jacket, floral bustier, mesh and leather A-line skirt, nude pumps
NYC and Paris Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Clear cat-eye sunglasses, coral lipstick, wavy hair with bangs, suede biker jacket, floral bustier, mesh and leather A-line skirt, nude pumps
NYC and Paris Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Clear cat-eye sunglasses, coral lipstick, wavy hair with bangs, suede biker jacket, floral bustier, mesh and leather A-line skirt, nude pumps
NYC and Paris Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Clear cat-eye sunglasses, coral lipstick, wavy hair with bangs, suede biker jacket, floral bustier, mesh and leather A-line skirt, nude pumps
NYC and Paris Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Clear cat-eye sunglasses, coral lipstick, wavy hair with bangs, suede biker jacket, floral bustier, mesh and leather A-line skirt, nude pumps

Today is officially my one month Pariversary! I threw caution to the wind (yet again) and moved out here on a whim, not really knowing what to expect. But my experience thus far only confirms my belief that this is, at least for me, the best way to truly experience life.

Do things that are daunting, and welcome the unexpected with open arms. Occasionally you might get punched in the face, but more often than not, with the right attitude, you’ll find that the unexpected will actually hug you back super hard.

Absorb what different cultures have to offer and let every single sight and sound sink in. Become friends with the locals (even if they are cats). Life is chaotic, but it is important to follow your heart, take risks, step out into the unknown, and remember to take some time for yourself…some time to stop and smell the roses.

*head to toe: Vint & York Copa sunglasses, Topshop biker jacket (similar style here), NARS lip gloss, Nicole Miller Adriana crop top, RumbaTIME Gramercy watch, W Concept Midtown Mesh Skirt, & Other Stories square toe pumps (this store is LEGIT!)

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I’m In Love With You

4 May

NYC and Paris Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog:  Structured hat, statement coat, black cropped top, high-rise skinny jeans, oversized satchel, velour slippers
NYC and Paris Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog:  Structured hat, statement coat, black cropped top, high-rise skinny jeans, oversized satchel, velour slippers
NYC and Paris Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog:  Structured hat, statement coat, black cropped top, high-rise skinny jeans, oversized satchel, velour slippers
NYC and Paris Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog:  Structured hat, statement coat, black cropped top, high-rise skinny jeans, oversized satchel, velour slippers
NYC and Paris Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog:  Structured hat, statement coat, black cropped top, high-rise skinny jeans, oversized satchel, velour slippers

I am a person who always has and, I can only hope, always will be eager to experience love. I am a creature of emotion, and I feel things harder than most people I know. Please don’t interpret this statement as self-glorifying because, as a result, my life is a fucking roller coaster…chaotic, but a fun ride, nonetheless.

I fall in love with people, places and experiences every single day – anything capable of setting off that fluttery feeling, really. It is almost like a drug to me. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, hence the tattoo. <3

When I shot these photos, I fell in love with Paris. I have only been here a short time but the city really is magic. Traveling has opened my heart and mind even more than I thought possible. It has made me realize that I am capable of being on my own without actually being alone. Something I have spent many years struggling with. I feel stronger and more independent now than ever.

Truth be told, I am as vulnerable as they come and have had this little heart of mine broken a couple of times. I have had my soul crushed, and moments where I felt like giving up. However, as a result I have instead learned to keep my expectations low and my head held high. To see the world through rose colored glasses. To see glasses as half full (unless it is a wine glass, which could always use a top-off). Or maybe just to see the world, I suppose. See the world, and keep on falling in love with whatever it is that makes my heart flutter without questioning it too much.

I may be an “over-thinker”, but at the end of the day, very few things actually wind up making sense to me from a literal perspective. And spending too much time making plans, in my opinion, has always been a mistake. When I’ve done so in the past, my plans don’t roll out how I expect them to. So what is the point? “Go with the flow” is no longer a hippie shit phrase for me. It is my lifestyle. I can go with the flow, bust my ass, make a living and earn the freedom to experience. The privilege to keep on stumbling upon those things that make my heart flutter.

Sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I fall in love and later realize that it’s not a fit or “the vibe is wrong”. But for me that is no reason to ignore the endless possibilities that are ever-present no matter what the scenario. It is no reason to hold back from experiencing all of the beauty that surrounds us, wherever we are or whoever we are there with.

So here’s to love, in every shape and form. And here’s to living in the moment, and appreciating the fact that you are still capable of feeling, even when all you really feel like doing is going numb. There is way too much out there to let go now…I promise.

*head to toe: makeup (and photos) by Alisha, Rag & Bone floppy brim fedora, Reformation cropped top, Mossée coat, 3×1 seam skinny jeans, KDB tote (similar style here), Mondaine mesh bracelet watch via WatchCo.com, LMN Versailles Slippers (my new OBSESSION)