White Heat

29 Mar

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Kelsi Dagger Spring Shoe and Handbag Campaign, strappy heel sandals, feather skirt, denim jacket
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Kelsi Dagger Spring Shoe and Handbag Campaign, strappy heel sandals, feather skirt, denim jacket

I really connect with the writing of Anais Nin, and these words in particular are certainly striking a chord at the moment…

I try very hard to be an optimistic person. I think that, for the most part, I am. I look for the good in people and I see the good in things. I am frequently disappointed and sometimes pleasantly surprised. Occasionally I feel really sad for no reason. And when I do, I feel guilty about feeling sad. I say things I don’t mean because I am angry for the “wrong reasons” (or maybe they aren’t even wrong!?). I also have this tendency to, at times, make decisions without fully thinking them through. Though I have to commend myself for being pretty good at picking up the pieces when I do break shit…perhaps “well seasoned” would be a better way to put it.

I am highly emotional and extremely rational, but rarely both at the same time…something that creates an internal conflict. Not only that, but it also causes a lot of problems when it comes to the “normal” people in my life who I LOVE. You know, the people who are not in full rebellion against their own minds.

I think maybe my heart beats harder and faster than it should, and my thoughts are very busy running a race with no finish line. There are times when I try to do everything and feel as though I’ve accomplish nothing, which tends to result in that fun little thing called debilitating anxiety. At the same time, I might wake up the next morning, ready to conquer the world. So much wavy fluctuation and frivolous fighting – all of which is ignited by this internal “white heat”.

The mind is a powerful, miserable, confusing, beautiful thing. But at the same time, I think we are all wired a certain way for a reason…and that tangled web of wires is what makes us unique. It’s the fucked up quirks, internal battles, acknowledgement of weaknesses and strengths, etc. etc. that ultimately build character and make us who we are. I hope I am on to something here…

*photography by Jono Bernstein // photo from the Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn spring campaign

Rainbow In A Snowstorm

23 Mar

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Brooklyn snow day celebration with the best of friends
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Brooklyn snow day celebration with the best of friends
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Brooklyn snow day celebration with the best of friends
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Brooklyn snow day celebration with the best of friends
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Brooklyn snow day celebration with the best of friends

In 23 days I will be leaving New York and moving to Paris. Everyone I tell keeps asking me why I made this drastic, somewhat random decision. My answer is “Why not?”. I have been in New York City for a little over three years now…maybe I will come back, maybe I wont. What I do know is it has been the most amazing, difficult, eye-opening chapter of my life. The first real chapter. I also know there is no sense in making long-term plans, because life is insane and will basically never, ever roll out how you expect it to.

I am completely overwhelmed by excitement, nervousness, sadness and joy. This is the first time I have truly thrown caution to the wind and made a decision that was 100% my own.

I have weaknesses aplenty. One of my most significant struggles has been learning to thrive in a, often times, vicious environment as an independent, single woman. I have grown significantly, but I have always had a hard time making choices on my own. I hate being by myself. By nature, I tend to find myself feeling lonely more often than most people I know.

Fortunately, I have an amazing group of friends (these two included — mad love Erica and Stacey) who have helped mold me into the stronger person I am today – a person I am actually proud of. I know that, no matter where in the world I am living, they will always have my back. I am very lucky…no reason to feel lonely.

NYC has taught me so much about myself and the person I, one day, hope to grow into. I have crashed and burned, and then learned to get back up on my fucking feet…to view every single “negative” experience as a lesson. I have learned to see the silver lining. And for me that practice alone is actually golden.

I caught up with a close friend recently over brunch, during which he told me he had distanced himself because everything felt broken. He has been having a really tough time (I think it has been a tough winter for a lot of us, unfortunately). But instead of sitting there and throwing some never-ending pity party, he decided to share with me his turning point  — I found it to be simple, inspiring, and tremendously beautiful…

He said he couldn’t remember the last time he had looked up at the sky. But then then one day he did…maybe to check and see if it was still there, or because he was starting to forget what the sun looks like; perhaps he just decided to allow himself a quick time-out from negative energy that was consuming him (an energy that so many of us, myself included, have a tendency to give entirely too much power). Whatever the reason, he did look up. And when he did, making this conscious decision to free himself from a trap that is much easier to fall into than it is to escape, what he saw was a small break in the clouds. It was really tiny, but it was there. And then he saw a RAINBOW.

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that keep us going…like remembering to look up at the sky. Think of the endless possibilities. Of “infinity”. Think of what life could be if we just took that extra effort to make a few small adjustments. 

Life is really crazy, isn’t it? This is why I have decided to be a little crazy with it. To take insane, impractical risks and get used to rolling with the punches. Some things can be controlled, and other things cannot. All I know is I don’t want to be on my death bead wishing that I’d done something I could have, but passed up out of fear.

Like I said before, New York has changed me a lot. I have myself to thank for some of it, my experiences to thank for other parts, but most of all, I have my friends and family to thank. These are the people who have taught me the most valuable lessons, reminded me what is actually important in life, and provided endless love and support along the way.

Even though I don’t always like being “by myself”, fortunately I now know that I never really have to be. This is a sense of security that breeds bravery, courage, and personal growth. So, I will go to sleep each night thanking my lucky stars, and do my best wake up every morning and look up for that break in the clouds. Some days I will see a rainbow, others it may be too tough to find…but I can continue to move forward because, even if I am standing in the middle of a snowstorm, I know I am not standing there alone.

*photography by Spencer Kohn

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May Flowers Always Line Your Path

19 Mar

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Sandbox studio, flower crown, green printed suit,  st. patrick's day, fashion shoot
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Sandbox studio, flower crown, green printed suit,  st. patrick's day, fashion shoot
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Sandbox studio, flower crown, green printed suit,  st. patrick's day, fashion shoot
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Sandbox studio, flower crown, green printed suit,  st. patrick's day, fashion shoot
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Sandbox studio, flower crown, green printed suit,  st. patrick's day, fashion shoot

May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day. May songbirds serenade you every step along the way. May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that’s always blue. And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through. (Irish Blessing)

If you can’t tell by now I spend a lot of time reading and am somewhat obsessed with poetic phrases. Here is a fun little gem (or…pot of gold?) I came across — decided it would pair perfectly with my very green ensemble, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Better late than never, right?!!

I have really enjoyed reading the “Irish Blessings”, as I find them to be particularly wise, to to the point, and positive. Sometimes we need to stop and take a second to appreciate the beauty in simplicity.

I am not a religious person, so to speak, but I certainly believe in karma and blessings, and try to take time each day to acknowledge just how lucky I truly am. I have endured waves of negativity, doubt and even depression many times, but found that the more challenges life throws at me, the more I’ve been able to adopt an optimistic outlook, overall. At the end of the day, we are dealt the cards we are dealt, can only control so much, and beyond that, life is whatever you choose to make of it.

So here is to happiness for all and loads of four leaf clovers!

*Photography by Jono Bernstein at Sandbox Studio // Darling London blazer and trouser set, Daniel Wellington watch, Tokyobay studded bracelet

Whiskey In A Teacup

13 Mar

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn, KDB, shoe and handbag campaign
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn, KDB, shoe and handbag campaign
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn, KDB, shoe and handbag campaign
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn, KDB, shoe and handbag campaign
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn, KDB, shoe and handbag campaign

For the REAL ones.

Those friends you knew you’d connect with from day one…even if you met under circumstances so random as being recruited for the same blogger reality show that neither of you would have actually gone through with. << true story

Hats off, and flower crowns on, to the people you can laugh and cry and drink and not give two fucks about anything with…sometimes.

Here’s to the friends who keep you in check and serve as constant reminders – through tough love, encouragement and example – that you you can be simultaneously insane and successful. You can be fun, free-spirited, and stand on your own two feet. You can achieve whatever it is you want to out of life, so long as you are kind, honest, and hard-working.

These are the people I want to be around. 

I am grateful for ladies like Erica who remind me of the deep-rooted passion that fuels me, even if it gets buried from time to time. Thanks to all of the strong women who I watch overcome obstacles with courage and grace. To all of the badass, successful, hardworking gals out there who beat the odds and make life happen on their own. To those who have a powerful yet delicate spirit, and never lose sight of what’s truly important.

I raise my whiskey-filled teacup to you.

*Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn campaign shot by Jono Bernstein

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Sole Traction

1 Mar

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: knit beanie, two-toned fur coat, vintage tee, studded crossbody bag, black high-waisted jeans, winter boots
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: knit beanie, two-toned fur coat, vintage tee, studded crossbody bag, black high-waisted jeans, winter boots
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: knit beanie, two-toned fur coat, vintage tee, studded crossbody bag, black high-waisted jeans, winter boots
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: knit beanie, two-toned fur coat, vintage tee, studded crossbody bag, black high-waisted jeans, winter boots
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: knit beanie, two-toned fur coat, vintage tee, studded crossbody bag, black high-waisted jeans, winter boots
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: knit beanie, two-toned fur coat, vintage tee, studded crossbody bag, black high-waisted jeans, winter boots

It may look all bright and sunny in these photos, but I have never been so freezing cold in my entire life! I must commend myself on becoming a layering pro thanks to my three year stint in NYC, though. Fairly certain that looking “stylish” is nobody’s first priority during the months of January and February around these parts. It’s safe to say that I put on at least 15 pounds of clothing every time I leave the house these days, in fact. But, c’est la vie. Seasons are awesome and, for the most part, I embrace the weather fluctuations. However, I will be pretty damn excited when black ice is no longer a treacherous hazard in stepping foot outside my front door.

Lately my go-to uniform consists of a solid tee shirt, a sweater (or two or three), a vest, an enormous coat, some trusty jeans (often times with tights hidden beneath), and a GOOD pair of boots.

I have never been a flats kinda girl but I am practical (usually). Safety first! I was running around the Meatpacking District when Jono and I took these shots. When crossing a New York City street is more like stepping onto an iceskating rink, having some actual sole traction is key. These Alexandria boots have saved me from many a disastrous, painful and embarrassing spill. Sorry to neglect you, heels — you have not been forgotten and I am very much looking forward to our springtime reunion.

*head to toe: Urban Outfitters knit beanie, Spy Nautilus sunglasses, Cut25 patchwork fur jacket, Adrienne Landau vest, vintage tee, Coach Dakotah crossbody bag, A gold E high-rise jeans, Bogs Alexandria lace boots

Photos by Jono Bernstein

Night Crawler

24 Feb

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: San Francisco Clift Hotel, Black backless dress, night out on the town
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: San Francisco Clift Hotel, Black backless dress, night out on the town
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: San Francisco Clift Hotel, Black backless dress, night out on the town
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: San Francisco Clift Hotel, Black backless dress, night out on the town
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: San Francisco Clift Hotel, Black backless dress, night out on the town

“I don’t give a shit what the world thinks. I was born a bitch, I was born a painter, I was born fucked. But I was happy in my way. You did not understand what I am. I am love. I am pleasure, I am essence, I am an idiot, I am an alcoholic, I am tenacious. I am; simply I am…You are a shit.” Frida Kahlo, from an unsent letter to Diego Rivera 

While I do not necessarily identify directly with every word written by the legendary artist quoted above, there is no denying the profound, heart-wrenching relatability that is present in its message.

I wasn’t born a bitch (though at times, I certainly can behave like one), I am not a painter, and being “fucked up” is sort of something what was an evolutionary process. I am tenacious, no doubt. I am passionate as all hell and sometimes I feel the anger, hurt and white-hot fire these words represent…almost as if they were pulled directly from my soul.

Note that this was taken from a portion of a letter written by Frida Kahlo to Diego Rivera that went unsent. I cannot tell you how many times I have done this. Putting my thoughts on paper has become an invaluable form of therapy, release and a channel to express emotions so powerful that, to be honest, I may be the only one who truly comprehends the weight and meaning my private words internally hold.

Whether it be a journal entry or an unsent letter to a loved one, where furious feelings are revealed and, often times, vicious daggers are figuratively thrown, I’ve learned to try and pump the breaks, if possible. This is not because I am anti-communication (I am likely the biggest advocate for openness and conversation — often times to a fault), but because I have, through experience, been slapped with the cold, hard realization that anyone who can induce such resentment and exasperation, is either unworthy or incapable of truly absorbing the meaning behind my words.

So, here’s to us — the ones who have had our hearts broken, who have acted out, who have turned to self-hate, anger and substance abuse in an attempt to cope with the bullshit life throws our way. Hats off to those who have had the strength to stand up and hold their own — to speak out or write down what they feel (sent or unsent), and move forward with their lives.

I love these harsh, disturbing, beautiful words by Frida Kahlo — so much that I feel them in my bones.

So cheers to being a an idiot and an alcoholic. Cheers to being pleasure and essence. Cheers to being happy in your own way and not being afraid to call out any friend, boss, acquaintance, lover or enemy who hinders the free, wild spirt that drives an electric current through your soul.

Cheers is to writing a fucking letter that expresses the words you so desperately and painfully hold within — even if the only person you actually are writing it for is yourself.

*head to toe: backless chain jersey dress by Atelier Gabriella Daher, Satur-Date heels by Kate Spade Saturday (pretty legit sale going on right now, FYI)

Photographed by Lance Skundrich at the Clift Hotel

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Throw Like A Girl

17 Feb

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cabin in the woods, knit beanie, fur jacket, basic white tee, painted vintage jeans, black booties
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cabin in the woods, knit beanie, fur jacket, basic white tee, painted vintage jeans, black booties
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cabin in the woods, knit beanie, fur jacket, basic white tee, painted vintage jeans, black booties
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cabin in the woods, knit beanie, fur jacket, basic white tee, painted vintage jeans, black booties
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cabin in the woods, knit beanie, fur jacket, basic white tee, painted vintage jeans, black booties

“Yes, I kick like a girl and swim like a girl and I walk like a girl and I wake up in the morning like a girl because I am a girl. And that’s not something that I should be ashamed of.”

I might not be winning any snowball fights, but that isn’t because I am a girl. I just happen to suck at being in the snow and don’t enjoy when my fingers go numb. If I actually cared about winning a snowball fight, I would win that damn snowball fight.

Yes, the title of this post is a reference to the kick-ass tampon commercial that aired during the Super Bowl (definitely worth watching if you haven’t seen it). It was refreshing to, for once, see an advertisement about, ya know, “that time of the month”, that isn’t cheesy as hell and completely irrelevant. Yoga, cartwheels, horseback riding, running on the beach, bla, bla, bla…

Last month a few of my favorite ladies and I fled the city and rented a cozy cabin in Connecticut, enjoying a weekend away from the bullshit. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time — an escape from those daily curveballs that sometimes knock me off base, allowing me to forget that I actually have all the power in the world and can do whatever I want with my life. No boys, no drama, no insecurities or inhibitions. Just real talk, silly behavior and plenty of unforgettable moments.

I laughed like a girl, cried like a girl, partied like a girl, ate pizza like a girl, ran around in my underwear like a girl, frolicked in the freezing cold like a girl, screamed like a girl, played with makeup and stayed up all night like a girl…

Well, guess what? At the end of that weekend I felt strong, confident and more powerful than ever.

I am no diehard super-feminist or anything….you know, the ones who are anti-men. In fact, I happen to be a huge fan of men. I like to get dolled up, be given flowers, and treated like a princess. I like that I can be vulnerable and have a soft, fragile side. I enjoy being taken care of sometimes, but know that I don’t need a man to take care of me.

I embrace my sexuality and am not ashamed of that. So I have the body of a pre-pubescent boy…I’ve finally become comfortable with it. I also wear “boyfriend jeans”, drink whisky, and curse like a sailor. At the same time, I am very proud of the fact that I am a girl who makes her own money, launched her own business and is capable of loving without holding back in fear. I stand up for myself like a girl, take risks like a girl, make brave decisions like a girl, and hustle like a freaking girl.

So here is to being a girl and owning it…let’s be real, we’re kind of the best.

*head to toe: Madewell knit beanie, vintage fur jacket, basic white tank (similar style here), Rialto Jean Project painted pants, Vagabond booties from Urban Outfitters

photos shot by Serena Goh