My momma has always referred to me as her “little free spirit.” I would still call myself a free spirit. In fact, until recently, I had not really fit any place at all. Don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t void of friends or romance. It’s just in my nature to fear the loss of my independence and begin to grieve it as soon as I can feel it slipping. Here I am, completely honest and raw. I have confidence but sometimes I put up walls to look tougher than I am. When my feathers are ruffled, I want to appear sure of myself and carefree.
Defense mechanisms. We all have them. I’m working on staying true to myself in tough situations. With my truth, comes positivity.
I have not always been a positive person. In fact, I used to be a glass half empty kinda gal. It hurts and heals to remember how far I have come. Following the death of a close friend, my anxiety peaked. The tears were never ending and sleep terrified me. One day, I woke up and I found that I was tired of expecting the worst. Optimism grew within me like a fern. It filled my chest with fluttering hope and soothed my brain.
In my field, it’s not hard to find someone who needs sunshine added to their darkness. Every day, I make it my mission to cheer someone up or just make them smile. I talk to my patients about re-routing negative thoughts all the time. It is part of the healing process. A process of letting go.
Instead of: “My life sucks.” Try this: “Today wasn’t great but better things are coming.”
Instead of: “I am stuck.” Try this: “I feel stuck but with a little work, I will get where I need to be.”
You cannot move forward if all of your thoughts are saturated in negativity. Those are the stones in your shoes that will weigh you down. You can drown in negativity or thrive in positivity. Which would you rather choose?
What do you think of this? Do you have any personal affirmations that you use daily? Please share below!
I think we all struggle with grasping our own identity while growing up (if you’re an Ennegram 4, I know you feel me 24/7). I have spent many productive years of my young life idolizing other women. Along the way, I copied their clothes, attempting to build my upon own identity. Through this weird and expensive adventure of mistakes, I have slowly built my own personal style. It was a time-consuming process with a lot of embarrassing blunders. But it happened and you can’t change the past. Unless you’re a witch. Come with me. Let’s share this bottle of wine and walk through the journey of my style history.
SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous of Sabrina. She had it all. Magic powers, a cool boyfriend, and a cool ass trendy wardrobe. Most importantly, she had access to a talking cat. To a seven-year-old cat lady (me), she was #goals. I would sit around for hours watching Hocus Pocus and talking to my cat named Figaro as she merely tolerated my presence. Not only did I own the Sabrina the Teenage Witch CD-ROM, I also dressed up as Sabrina for Halloween.
I’m obviously making fun of myself here – I mean, let’s get real here. The 90’s and 00’s fashion trends were a total joke. Fake hair pieces. Tear away pants. Limited Too. Bandanas. Camouflage cargos. Triggered. This leads me to the horrendous mix-matched style of Lizzie McGuire. I may have pretended to hate her because I was a *~tomboy*~ but I secretly wanted to be her. I think we can all be honest here and admit to it, already.
Anyone who REALLY knows me is aware of what’s coming next. I was a complete Harry Potter freak as a kid. Like, I was 12 and I wanted to be Hermione Granger. I used to dress up like Hermione all the time. I even copied her street clothes from the movies. There was so much that I admired about her character and so much I loved about the Harry Potter series. I’m not trying to play the pity card but I was bullied mercilessly. I was a very lonely kid and Harry Potter made me feel less lonely. As an adult, I cherish those books for what they were able to teach me and I curse J.K. Rowling for making her characters dress up in robes (how embarrassing). In college I would still be dressing like Hermione for Halloween… just not as appropriate.
Moving on to the punk rock princess of the 2000’s. She made pink and black look tough and often wore a tie because SCREW GENDER NORMS. If you have been alive as long as I have, you can probably guess who I’m talking about.
Avril Lavigne at her Abbey Dawn clothing line fashion shoot today in Los Angeles, CA..
Pictured: Avril Lavigne
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It’s none other than Avril Lavigne. Seventh grade was a strange transformation for me. Everything was changing and emo music was totally hot and skater boys ruled recess. Also, try to run in Etnies. I dare you. I wore studded belts, ties with tank tops, and I had badges all over my backpack. Even my braces were pink and black and I played a pink electric guitar. I was PUNK, you poser. This isn’t a phase I’m proud of and my family has teased me about it for my entire life. To my family: I’m sorry for dating a gothic boy and worrying you for three years.
Like… Wow… Totally.
Oh, wow. This next character is a little obscure. My freshmen year of high school, I wanted to be Cassie Ainsworth from the E4 hit UK Skins. As a troubled young lady, I really related to her. We were both lonely and didn’t fit in properly. I’ve always been a bit of a space cadet in an odd, bookworm type of way. Just Google MBTI – INFP and you’ll get it. She has a very funky sense of style and it seems to be completely her own. Funky prints, fun socks and bright colors! Red lips and a kooky, half-in-space vibe. Still somewhat who I am.
Ah, Effy. A character close to my heart. Also from Skins UK, Effy Stonem was the grunge badass of the show. She was distant, independent, and not easily pushed around by others. All the guys loved her… and she loved a good party. My Effy phase was probably the longest of all of these phases. She was a little bit broken but extremely tough. Her style is full of heavy, black, and graphic tees. Knee socks and flannels. Her hair and makeup is always a bit undone, almost to look like she’s been out all night partying. So I wore black lace, black pants, leather jackets, and combat boots. Dark makeup and messy hair. Pretty close to the style I still wear.
Aly May Photo
All hail Stevie, our lady of rock ‘n’ roll. I went through a number of hippie phases but this one sticks with me to this day. I still love flowy tops and bell bottoms with a high waist. I tie my t-shirts in a knot and wear platform sandals. I have since thrown out most of my bell-sleeved tops but I will be keeping all of the white lace. This woman has influenced my life in ways I cannot express.
My current style is inspired by French ‘it’ girl, Jeanne Damas. She has her own clothing line called Rouje and she is everything I want to be. Her style is very simple. She wears a lot of denim and staple pieces. I love the minimalist, classic French girl style. I would say that my style has more retro vibes than Jeanne’s but I still wear a lot of black.
What do you guys think? What are your current fashion favorites? Who has inspired your style in the past? Let me know down below!
Despite my exterior and my ample sarcasm, I’m a real sentimental kinda gal. The Mitten has treated my Ohio soul real nice for four years. Michigan has been the place where I learned some serious life lessons and restructured my mental health. This is the place where I have made life-long best friends who are creative, loving and fun. I became a certified yoga teacher here through the Mindful Vinyasa School of Yoga. Michigan is where I began applying my beloved psychology degree. Finally.
I have really come into my own in Michigan. I can confidently say that I had no idea who I was when I got here. In 2014, I graduated from the University of Dayton and it was a strange time for me. In those years, I went from being introverted and moody to extroverted and all about fun. Too many nights a week, you could find me at Milano’s or in “the Ghetto” dancing my heart out and chugging beverages with my friends (after a couple of hours at Club Roesch, our campus library, of course). Sorry, Dad.
This party animal behavior continued after moving to GR. I moved into a house I found on Craigslist with four guys and a girl. They quickly became my closest friends here and we spent a lot of our time listening to music and drinking (love you guys). A lot happened in that house that made me into the woman I am today. I was at my highest and lowest simultaneously. It forced me to make some major decisions on who I ultimately want to be as a person. I am still a free spirit without being the illusive, sneaky creature I had become. Brutal honesty has since become my favorite policy.
MY FAVE ROOMIES
Melanie, Devon, Me
My dude AARON
After my girl moved out of the house, I then lived with 5 boys. A lot was going on and we were having a lot of fun. Cottage days and nights at Aaron’s island cottage. Acoustic guitar and singing around the campfire. Midnight play around the island, chasing one another. Waking up with leaves in our hair and smelling like lake water and burnt wood. Freckles on our skin and smiles on our lips. The best of times amongst the worst of times. Too much alcohol, too many unrequited feelings. Hearts were broken and I missed him. The whole reason I moved here. There are some things you can never get back no matter how much you try. I am all of 26 now and things will never be like college again.
Laughter at an old roommate’s wedding. Dancing the night away with familiar faces all around. Just like old times. My heart was full even though it rarely feels that way anymore. I work almost daily with people who understand me and care about me. I have a chosen family here and I live with one of the kindest souls I have ever known (love you, Shelle). My girl gang simply cannot be beat. I love our high-powered lady unit with all the creativity and the love and laughter. So much love is in Michigan but after the recent tragic family events, I have been left feeling lonely.
During that time, I have spent a lot of time with my family. We laughed and cried and drank wine. We ate good food and we sang together. Beautiful moments and beautiful people brought together because we lost the man of our family. There is a huge whole in my soul and my heart and nothing can fill it but family time. I have realized that. Missing him and wishing I could spent one more day with him. I would give anything.
Here I am in my late 20s without the reason I moved here in the first place. I stayed here without that reason for years. I have loved Michigan and appreciated Michigan for all the memories I have harvested. All the beautiful lake days and nights. All the laughing, wonderful humans I have met. But before I moved to Michigan, I was SO CLOSE to packing up all of my worldly possessions and moving to Colorado. 5 years later, I’m finally doing it. In December, I will be moving to colorful Colorado to live with my brother and his wonderful girlfriend who has become sister to me. My amazing godparents are there as well with their two kids, so I will be surrounded by loved ones. I think I have some sorority sisters there, too. 😉
So this is the next chapter in my journey. I am so excited for all of the new experiences, opportunities and people I will meet along the way.
my CO family
i love my baby bro
kayaaking on my 26th birthday
What journey are ya’ll on right now? Do you have any plans for your journey? Share them with me down below!
As someone who loves fashion and skincare to the detriment of her wallet, I have must-have products for every season. Spring in Michigan is slowly rolling in but I can feel it. I think. At least with the products I’m about to share, I can trick myself into feeling it. Hello, Spring!
For spring, I love a good natural-looking flush while I’m flirting with boys and laughing while eating yogurt. But mostly I use Glossier’s Cloud Paint for an easy every-day look. The formula is amazing and it lasts all day. I’m serious. I typically use ‘Dusk’ as a base and then I blend ‘Haze’ into the apples of my cheeks. It brings a glow to my face like I have never known. And it shows up beautifully on camera. Thank you, Glossier. Glow up.
Okay, so obviously berets have been in style for quite a while now but I don’t see myself letting go of them anytime soon. I have a burnt orange one (pictured above), a grey one and a black one. I love the look of them with my fringe, I love the look of them with cozy sweaters and I love feelin’ like a cool french girl. Period. If someone wants me to stop wearing berets anytime soon, they will have to pry them from my cold, dead hands.
Plants (Cacti, Succulents + Air Plants)
I love plants. They really give life to a room and they can brighten up corners and windowsills. But I have a real problem with plants that aren’t low maintenance. I kill them. So I buy cacti, succulents and air plants and I have actually begun to develop a bit of a green thumb. My Grampy always loved plants. He even had a greenhouse in his backyard when I was growing up. Having greenery in my home makes me feel closer to him. So when I see a good lookin’ succulent, I can’t help but bring it home with me.
I’m currently learning how to propagate succulents but if you have any tips, I would love to hear them!
Spring makes me think of renewal. I want glowing, fresh skin year round but in the spring, taking care of your skin is so important. The weather is changing along with a lot of other factors depending on your lifestyle. But one thing I have noticed a big change with is taking collagen peptides with my coffee. Collagen peptides are not only good for your skin but they are also good for your insides (do your own research). I use Sports Research Collagen Peptides, found on Amazon.
As a self-proclaimed fashionista, I love a good timepiece. As an ex-hippie, I especially appreciate wood-crafted timepieces. I have partnered up with Jord Watches to showcase their beautiful unique timepieces for men and women. To spread the word about their beautiful wooden watches, they sent one to me personally.
They let me choose from several different styles and I received my first pick. I chose the Frankie Purpleheart and Plum watch from their Frankie series. It is a beautiful watch with a tastefully pink watch face. The wooden band fits perfectly around my wrist and I have gotten so many compliments each time I wear it! Jord’s packaging is also aesthetically pleasing and each watch comes in a beautifully crafted wooden box, pictured below.
I‘m going to be blunt with you all because that is my nature. This year has been shit so far. An absolute flaming sack of shit. My favorite person in the world, my Grampy, passed away. The night of his funeral, my dad went to the hospital. Two weeks later he had open heart surgery (recovering well, thank God). I broke my tooth at work, ripped my pants (LOL), and I was in two car accidents. Here I am, just sitting sick at home, hoping it all gets better.
At work, I often tell my patients that we don’t know the silent battle people are fighting. We don’t know what happens behind closed doors. You think you see it all on social media. But those are just the highlights. An edited, curated selection of moments from somebody’s life. How often do you see the hurt? How often do you see couples arguing? How often do you see someone who isn’t in the mental health community showcase their crippling depression? Rarely.
As a society, I think we can do better. I have gone round and round with myself and with other people lately, trying to find my footing. I’m tired of fighting. Very tired. Sometimes I just want to cancel everything and lay in bed. But I push through. Some days I just cry in my car on my way home from work because it was a heavy day or I really, really miss my Grampy. Some days I don’t feel much like eating. I do it anyway. Sometimes I just cry. These are the parts of me that I don’t show on social media.
These are the parts that we must remember exist. Without them, we aren’t human. Without them, we are series of seemingly happy photos and captions. We are a laughing couple. We are a smiling model in a bathing suit. But we aren’t. At least not always. We are human. We are a couple that just got into a screaming match. We are a hungry girl, trying to please society. We are sometimes lonely. It’s important to see the human behind the social media. Behind the huge smiles.
Because once we can’t see the human anymore, is anything really worth it?
When did you start making music? What got you into music?
I grew up with a piano in the house and I think it all started there. I never took any lessons, I just taught myself songs by ear and when I got old enough to get online, I searched tutorials up on Youtube. For my 12th birthday, my mom bought me a guitar purely for the lack of knowing what I wanted and that’s when it clicked. I was always the little kid coming up with songs and jingles, but when I taught myself how to play guitar, songwriting became my number one thing to do.
What are your musical influences?
The first band I fell in love with was Smashing Pumpkins, and I think that group has had the most influence over me as a musician. I create a lot of different music and I definitely think that’s because I listen to so many different genres. Bands like Circa Survive and The Front Bottoms have had a really heavy impact on my writing style as a whole and I think that’s most evident in my work with Sad Vegan, but in regards to this specific project I draw a lot of influence from people like Felly, Blackbear and Halsey. You’re so young! What are your goals as you grow in your music career?
I’m glad you think so because I feel like the clock is ticking already! The past two and a half years have been all about music, and I hope it stays like that. Now I’m 18 and I really want to step on the gas. This new single is a step out of my comfort zone, being someone who plays in an Alternative Rock band, and I want to keep pushing those boundaries that I at some time, for some reason set for myself. Some big goals for me at the moment are to finish and release this EP (SYDHX) and play some shows! I’m on the look out to do a lot of feature work as well, so if you’re reading this and want me on a verse, let me know! Ultimately, I want people to hear my music, vibe to it, and get my message.
What is your creative process for writing songs and music?
The creative process usually goes like this…
Step one: Find something that inspires me, even if that inspiration isn’t obvious, because there’s a reason I sat down to write a song.
Step two: Play something, anything. Great. Now find some chords… Got it.
Step three: Say some words, write them down, erase them all, say something else, then go back to the first few words.
Step four: Find my groove and roll with it.
Step five: Have an epiphany and realize what it is I’m trying to say.
Step six: Completely lose track of what I was trying to say… Keep going.
Step seven: Scrutinize myself.
Step eight: Fill with pride at my artistic genius, then scrutinize myself again.
Step nine: Say f**k it and demo the song.
If you could meet one famous musician, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
I actually have no desire to meet anyone, is that weird? This question is my all time least favorite. We’re all just people… I guess it would be cool to meet Gwen Stefani, I adore her. She’s my music career goals for sure. Awesome band, successful solo career, and a now Christmas special?! Sign me up.
Watch out for this girl! She is so sweet and insightful and she’s going places. Listen to her new song ‘No Stranger’ on Soundcloud and Spotify!
Iam a big fan of simplicity when it comes to make-up. I don’t like to cover up my freckles. I no longer participate in contouring of any kind. I have a very small make-up bag. Although I love simplicity, I also believe in quality products and morning rituals. So grab a cup of coffee (I take mine with collagen peptides + coconut oil or black as my soul). Let’s get ready!
Here’s what I do every morning: Cleanse: I splash my face with cool water. Not only is this very refreshing but it wakes me and my skin up. Moisturize + Protect: I apply serum, moisturizer, and eye cream (in that order). Massage: I get my trusty jade roller out of the fridge and use it on my face and neck.
A lot of times I will just leave the house with a fresh, naked face but I often times with wear minimal make-up. On make-up days, I will leave the house with my messy waves, bold brows, bold lips, and nice glow à laJeanne Damas. So, for make-up:
My Signature Scent: Maison Margiela’s By The Fireplace For Red Lips:Chateau Labiotte’s Wine Lip Tint or NARS Cruella Matte Lip Pencil
Let me know about your morning routine! Is your routine more complicated? Is it more simple? What do you listen to to wake you up in the morning? Do you dance around to Stevie Nicks or sing along with Heart like I do? Share with me in the comments down below!