Thirty Five

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There’s something that I’m learning as I grow older and more wise.

Happiness has nothing to do with what’s around me.  It doesn’t come from the clothing I wear (okay maybe it does a little bit, when I find a comfortable pair of stretchy pants to allow for the growth of a just conceived food baby).  It doesn’t come from the makeup I experiment with, or the food I eat, the trinkets I collect to gather dust in my living room, or the new bag that I bought to match the shoes that also joined the family a few days earlier.

No, it doesn’t come from these things.  Not really.

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Sure, all of these things can make me happy – but it’s not true joy.  It’s a temporary high, and it’s gone just as fast as it comes.

Collecting possessions to bring myself happiness when I am not content within myself first means I will forever be on a search for something I will never find.

And this is where I have gone wrong for most of my life.

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Don’t mistake me by thinking that I don’t have a knack for pretty or interesting (or even luxurious) things – clearly, as Louis joined me in the making of this post.  But I grew too fond of them, and too beholden to them, that I couldn’t understand why I was never satisfied even though I was surrounded by so much material wealth.

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I was unhappy, and it was an unhappiness that brewed from deep within.  It took me letting go of a lot of my worldly possessions to begin to realize the err of my ways.

I took a long, hard look in the mirror and began to face everything that I’d buried under a mountain of clothing and shoes.  And the more I looked, the more the clothing and shoes disappeared, and the less and less that I missed them.  The more I looked, the stronger I craved experience, and memory-making, and getting out into the world to reconnect with what really matters.

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Happiness is a journey; it’s not something that comes from things.

It comes from me, and only me.  From within myself.  It comes from learning all about the facets that have created the being that I am today.  It comes from learning to love each of those plates, grouted together – some jagged as rock and some smooth as glass; each just as vital, regardless.

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It’s a hard fight to free yourself of the confines of our society.  If you’re like I am and you’ve been living within the “Everything Shiny and Everything New” era of today, then you realize how difficult it can be to divorce yourself from it.

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I don’t need the newest or the shiniest anymore;  I’ve realized there is no magic in those things.  The magic and the character come from having been pre-loved, and loved well (hint: this applies to your bags and yourself).  The more I think about it, the more I would rather have well-loved and well-known pieces in my collection that tell stories of where I’ve been and the adventures that I’ve had.

It’s a never-ending race to find the best and be the best, but you’re not competing against each other – you’re competing against yourself.  You will never see the finish line if you refuse to acknowledge this.

Protect your happiness and learn to walk away.  It’s not savage, it is necessary.  In a world that will do everything to break you down and keep you unhappy, it is absolutely pertinent.

“Less is more” is the old adage we’ve all more than likely heard many times.  I used to always brush it off, thinking nothing of it, but I see now the truth that hides behind it.

Less IS more.
Less technology in your life is more connection.
Less material wealth in your life is more freedom.
Less attention to celebrity media in your life is more love and acceptance of yourself.
Less hatred and jealousy toward your fellow beings is more community and love.
Less negativity in your life is more positivity surrounding you.
Less competition with others is more time for you and the things that really matter.

*None of the items featured in this post are new.  They have all been in my closet for relatively some time now, ranging from months to years.*

Thirty Four

Well hellooooooo.
I found a new love, and it’s not fashion.

This is why I have been MIA.  I’ve been thinking about climbing, learning about climbing, and doing the climbing.  It’s been amazing.

Actually, this whole year has been pretty incredible so far, but particularly these last few months.  I am learning SO much about myself, and I am just feeling so much more comfortable from every angle that I scope.  I’ve been discovering the authenticity that’s been hiding within all this time; it’s incredibly liberating.  The genuine happiness and care-free frolicking that follows is unmatched.

I am of the Earth element, and I am finding out that I am absolutely an Earth-bound soul.  I love to experience everything about the literal Earth that surrounds me.  Naturally, it only makes sense that hanging off a wall with my hands covered in chalk just feels like home.

Everything about climbing just feels like home.  It really nurses the gypsy heart that beats within my chest.  I am fast finding out just how wonderful, supportive and welcoming the climbing community is.  It’s packed full of good people; my kinda people.

I am so excited for this next adventure in my life, so I apologize now for the inevitable increase in flightiness and absence.  But as they say, you gotta follow your heart. 😉

Now, on that note – I did stumble upon (rather randomly) something that I’ve been struggling with basically since puberty.   That “tousled-beach-wave” look.  SERIOUSLY.  Why does the undone look take SO MUCH DOING?!

If you, too, have struggled with this – please appreciate my 11 Step instructions below (profanities are a free bonus…you’ll know what I mean).

11 Steps to Perfectly Undone Hair
Step 1: Wash hair at night, as you normally would.
Step 2: Towel dry hair, shake to release.  DO NOT BRUSH.
Step 3: Go to bed.
Step 4: Wake up in morning, tousle with fingers. (AGAIN) DO NOT BRUSH.
Step 5: Go about your daily business (we’ll refine your “undone” look later).
Step 6: In evening, run fingers through matted hair to ‘brush’ … (good luck)
Step 7: Plug in flat iron.  Heat to desired setting.
Step 8: Grab random chunks of hair in no particular pattern.  Run through flat iron in curling motion at fairly quick pace.
Step 9: Leave random strands that escape flat iron’s grip.  Leave random strands that refuse to curl like the others. Leave random globs of hair that have matted together.  They’ll be hidden.  JUST TWIST ONCE AND GO WITH IT.
Step 10: Shake the shit out of it.  Crop-dust with hairspray and scrunch.
Step 11: Leave house because you look fabulously “undone”.

Et, VOILA! Magnificent!

You’re welcome.

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Outfit Details
TopHM Coachella Collection (2016)
Fringe DusterStitches
JeansArdene (I KNOW)
ShoesWinners (#FabFind)
GlassesTahari (Winners – #FabFind)

Thirty Three

It’s been a while since I made a fashion post.  Oy.   Not being a full-time blogger, I get sidetracked – easily.  Well, really that’s just me in life, in general.  Shooting for this post I noticed something different though…

There wasn’t ONE photo that I had that I criticized.
I even found myself cheering myself on.

“YAS GURL, Look at you work it!  You look fabulous!  You’re amazing!”

This has not been the norm for any of my posts thus far.  This is a big step.

I’ve been going through a pretty significant change the last few months.  I feel like this is maybe something that happens when you’re on the cusp of the 30 year marker of life.  I’ve had glimpses of moments like these all throughout my twenties thus far, but nothing as concrete as now.

I’m evolving.

I’m more aware of myself, who I am and all that that entails.  I’m more connected to the world around me, in an organic way.  I’m becoming less dependent on technology, compared to how I was at the beginning of the year (which could also help to explain my absence).  I’m more appreciative of my body, of my essence.  I’m speaking more out of love than out of hatred or bitterness – to myself, and to others.   In a way, I feel like with the world around me moving forward, I am taking a few steps backwards… in the absolute best way possible.  I am finding my true self, and growing in ways that I was stunted from before.

A funny kind of thing is happening along with this.  My wardrobe is evolving, too.

I am choosing clothing that I am drawn to kinetically.  What my heart and soul are drawn to, instead of my eyes or my wallet.  In doing so, I am 1000% more comfortable in my own skin and in what I wear.  I think this is the first outfit that I’ve worn in a long time (or maybe ever) that I honestly love every part of, and how I look in every part of it.

Those legs – FOR DAYS.
Them thighs – #QUADGOALS.
Those curves – DELICIOUS.
Them arms – STRENGTH.
Dat booty – HI I HAVEN’T SEEN YOU IN SO LONG NICE TO HAVE YOU BACK.

All the pieces of me that I used to tear apart, I am falling so madly in love with.  I didn’t think that was possible, but the more I evolve, the stronger that love becomes – and I am so elated.  Loving myself has never been easy, but I am learning and I am finding happiness within the lesson.

I hope that if you’re reading this, and you’re feeling the way that I am so used to feeling, that you too will discover love and happiness within your own lesson.

Life is hard.  If we hold each other up, we can get through anything.

“All we need is love…”

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I am SO obsessed with bodysuits right now.  And this jacket…and these jeans…and boots…and sunglasses.
I would actually (and quite possibly just might) wear this every single day.  So, I can’t promise that I’ll have much new content coming in the near future.  #SorryNotSorry …

JacketGarage (on clearance!)
BodysuitH&M
JeansGap (1969 fit)
BootsDUNE London
SunniesWinners Fab Find

Thirty One

 

Today’s post is not going to be about fashion.  It’s going to be about something so much greater.  It’s going to be long, and full of photos.  Some of these photos are flattering, some are not.  Most of them I had no idea were being taken but each of them has a story, and each of them carries an emotion.  I wasn’t expecting my journey to be captured in such a raw and authentic way…but for that, I am ever so grateful to my wonderful boyfriend who, in his pride for me, decided to document the steps of my journey – both good and bad.  I couldn’t have asked for a greater gift.


 

Yesterday, I began the journey to conquering my fears.

One of those is a crippling fear of heights.
Like, we’re talking heart-stopping, throat-tightening, won’t-even-walk-near-a-second-floor-railing-in-a-mall fear of heights.

So naturally, I decided to climb a mountain.

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This whole thing started a week ago.  My boyfriend and I went on a casual hike in the mountains to Heart Creek Trail.  While we were there, he took notice of Heart Mountain, which the trail runs alongside.

 

His first instinct – “Wow!  I want to climb that.”
Mine? – “Are you INSANE?!”

But the day went on, and the more I thought about it, the more the idea intrigued me.  It wasn’t until we saw other climbers along it’s edge that I started to think, “Okay, we could totally do that.  It can’t be that hard.”  So with very few hours left in the day (and a watch telling us the incorrect time), we set out to find where this mountain climb began.

We made it (what we thought) about half way up, until the weather turned and a storm started rolling in.  I’ve watched enough movies and documentaries to know that when weather on a mountain starts to change, you don’t take it lightly.  I made the executive decision to turn around and head back down, though my win did not come without a fight.  We decided that we would try again, and next time we would make it.

Fast forward a week to April 10.  We once again found ourselves standing at the base of Heart Mountain.  This time more determined than ever, and clearly having brought our naivety along with us for the ride.  Our previous venture had seemed like a breeze.  I was surprisingly not scared at all, given the circumstances, and regardless of the insane reviews that we had read since our first failed attempt, I was totally convinced that this would be a cake walk.

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I was not at all prepared for the experience I was willingly walking right into.

I was doing this to face a demon, a fear that has plagued me intensely in my adult life.  I had expected there to be some physical challenge, but I could never have prepared myself for the psychological torture I was about to be drug through.

The first part (what we now realize was about a quarter) of the hike went smooth like our first attempt.  We both took notice that we didn’t have the same energy as the last time, but we chalked that up to lack of sleep/lack of heat/lack of warm up/lack of oxygen… basically any excuse we could give ourselves that would convince us to keep going.

Great start, amiright lol

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See? Breezy!

Everything was truly going dandy, until we breached our previous turn-around point.

It was in this moment that I was playing the comedian and scoffed, “Oohh looks like the fun really starts here!”, but little did I know how accurate my ‘comedy’ would become.

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The thought that I was maybe in for more than I realized crossed my mind, but I quickly shot that down and told myself it was just nerves.  I’ve never climbed a mountain before!

I even took a moment to twerk a little since my boyfriend is a genius and brought along a portable radio for us.  (I can’t believe he actually took a picture of this LOL)

Werk, werk, werk, werk, werk, werk…

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Peekaboo!

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Ahh, still happy!  Still quite clueless.

I had already had a few moments of having to reiterate to myself that I could do this, that I was capable… though it was previous to this point that I had decided it was time to put up the blinders, and try my damnedest to NOT look left or right – and ESPECIALLY DO NOT LOOK BEHIND YOU/DOWN.

CHEERS! (Obligatory tourist shot)

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Moving forward didn’t seem so bad now.  I was keeping my eyes on the prize aka staring directly at the ground in front of me, only briefly looking up and forward to remain on path and nothing else.

It was here that my first true anxiety attack came on.  I had tears well up in my eyes, my throat started to close in and restrict my already low intake of oxygen…I was shaking so badly I thought I would slide right off the side of the mountain.

I actually had to stop and bring myself into Tree Pose to reground.  RIDICULOUS, right?! My boyfriend had a mild heart attack when he saw me standing on one leg on the side of the mountain.  It took everything in me to calm my nerves and re-centre myself to keep going; that tiny bit of yoga that I brought with me made a world of difference in that moment.

In fact, here is a photo I took just after I got myself together; for the first time in a long time I snuck a peek to my left…and just about shit my pants.  There’s the slope for ya!

I muttered to myself, “Terrible idea…” and owned a moment of self-hatred for straying from my plan of action.

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I reminded myself, swallowing the lump in my throat, that I could do this, that I was safe.  That I needed to put those blinders back up and everything would be just peachy!

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Yeah.  Safe.  Peachy.  All good!

Well, it must have worked, because my smile was back!

(Or maybe that had to do with having no idea that THIS was behind me!?!)

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It didn’t last for long.  Tackle one hurdle, only to come face to face with another more challenging one.  If it wasn’t having to navigate our way up increasingly steeper slopes, it was having to straight up free style rock climb over a ridge (or two).

It was here that I looked up, said, “Are you f***ing kidding me!…”, turning to my boyfriend like:

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He chuckled at my expression, and I half hoped I was joking – although seeing this photo now, there is no denying the truth behind it.  I was terrified and feeling defeated.  I had made it through the first rock climb required and was hoping with all hope that I wouldn’t have to repeat it.  But here we were.

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I can’t count the number of times that I said both inside my head and out loud, “Why the hell did I think this was a good idea?”…and I wouldn’t know the answer to that question for another almost 2 hours.

Being the sweet man he is, my boyfriend softly suggested I try a more upbeat approach.  We had both been reciting positive mantras to the other when one of us started to question our inner confidences.  It served to help the other, but I think it helped ourselves more.

So I responded:

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Fake it ’til you make it, right?!

I had a moment of utter weakness at this point, and all I could think was, “I can’t fucking do this. There is NO WAY that I can do this.  If I somehow find a way up, there’s no way I’ll find a way down.”

Out of nowhere, like the clouds parting and the rays of the sun bursting through,  I got a second wind;  I had come up for a breath of air.

“F**K IT.  What am I doing?! I’m bad ass!!! I can totally do this.  I’m just gonna do it, and that’s that!”

Off I went with gumption.

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That confidence lasted all of 5 minutes.

“Babe, look back here for a second.”
“No thanks.”
“Come on! Just a quick second.”
“… okay fine.”

CHEESE!

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And, in this moment of looking back when I promised myself that I wouldn’t – my friend Annie Anxiety had returned.  ALL that consumed my thoughts now was, “How the fuck am I going to get off of this mountain if I keep going? I can’t keep going. I have to turn around.  I’m probably already stuck here.”

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A little voice inside me started to speak and I remembered the reason why I was doing this – that I was fighting against this very thought – and it gave me strength to push on.  I had already made it THIS far and there was no damn way I was doing this a third time.  Now or never.  We were way too close to the summit to pack up now.

Onward!  Pull those big girl panties up.  Find a way.

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NAILED IT.

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A short while later and we had reached our destination!  SUMMIT! FINALLY!

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Nothing could have prepared me for the emotion that would hit me like a freight train.

All I could do was cry (and thank God for sunglasses 😉 ).

The pride that overwhelmed me was incredible.

I DID IT.  I ACTUALLY DID IT.  I’M SITTING HERE THOUSANDS OF FEET IN THE AIR AND I’M STILL TERRIFIED BUT I’M HERE.  I MADE IT.

The tears that I swallowed, the trembling, the fear that I had to continually beat down inside of me – to push my body and my mind past its absolute limits – all for this moment.  This achievement. This victory.

Now I understood why I knew this was a good idea.

I drank it in like nectar to a bee.

And then I just sat there.

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Alone with my thoughts.  Totally engrossed in this divinity of nature; in this connection that I was pulled towards so strongly.  Revelling in my glory, but also in sadness.  How can moments like these go so unappreciated by some?  This Earth.  Our home.  Its magic.  These majestic, strong, jagged peaks that literally thrust their power and beauty into your face.

Perspective.  Appreciation.  Respect.  Gratitude.

And I cried again, out of grief for this world.  I was so overcome.

Eventually, I gathered my emotions, and my belongings, and wandered off to explore with my love.  To take in the grand scenery that enveloped us.  To dwell in what we had accomplished together.

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Truly on top of the world, by all definitions ❤

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We were speechless.

The views the whole way through this trek were breathtaking; worth the pain and sweat, worth every tear, worth every thought that I had had to combat.

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(I have a thing for contrasting textures)

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After sending out a little gift of love and thanks, we began our descent.  I had no choice but to look down at this point, and something strange was happening.  The more I embraced the view, connected with the Earth, trusted my own strength – the more my fear and anxiety began to fade.

This climb was far more psychologically challenging than I could ever have imagined.  I wasn’t expecting my anxiety to join me, in all her glory, on this journey; to skip along beside me, chanting taunts into my ear.  I was not at all prepared for the physical or emotion breakdown that I would endure.  The grip of terror that would wrap itself around my throat, choking me.  The breath that would be harder and harder to take, and not just because the air was thinning.

When I made the concrete decision to summit Heart Mountain and face my fear of heights, I had no idea what I had signed myself up for.  I’d seen photos of people who had done it, and I’d thought that it looked so easy.  So attainable…and attainable it is, but it was not without a price.

When I decided to summit Heart Mountain, spending a solid 1.5 of the almost 3 hours it took fighting back tears wasn’t what I pictured.  I had to battle so much of my mind that I questioned each step of the way if this was what I actually wanted to do.

Had I made a good decision?
Was I crazy to think I could do it?
Who the hell decides to do this in their right frame of mind anyway, especially with a paralyzing fear of heights!?!?
Couldn’t I have started with a jungle gym or a ladder?! 

In setting this goal, and stopping at nothing to reach it, I learned a few things.

I learned that the only limitations I have I’ve set myself, and they exist only in my mind.

I learned that maybe to conquer our fears (and our minds), we must learn to walk hand in hand with them.  We have the power.  We always will.

I learned that I can trust myself, because that trust will carry me through.

I learned that I am an extremely emotional being, and to allow myself to live in those moments of emotion is empowering.  It’s brave, and bold.  It’s human, and it makes me stronger.

I learned that I am so much more capable than I ever would have given myself credit for. That when I think it’s time to quit, I’ve only just begun.

My face might be burned to a crisp (because I always fucking forget sunscreen), and my body might be aching in places I didn’t even know could ache – but my soul is so beyond fed and I am so humbled and changed by this experience.   I can’t wait to do it again.

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I did it.  I’m a yogi – as of almost 2 weeks ago.  …. Albeit, a SUPER noob yogi, but a yogi none-the-less!  I’ve participated in yoga in the past, but I never could make the commitment needed both physically and mentally to make it a permanent thing.  It’s something I’ve been thinking of revisiting for a really long time now – I was just afraid to take the first step.   This year, I decided that I’m going to do whatever it takes to become a better, more authentic version of myself – so I took the plunge and signed up for an entire year.  I know, I almost peed myself….but I figured, go big or go home, right?!

The studio I’ve joined is so great.  Almost all of their classes are beginner oriented, and the instructors are so lovely.  I’ve really been enjoying my time there, and I know this may sound crazy, but I’ve actually been noticing some pretty significant changes already.  I don’t know how or why it happens, but yoga practice and meditative breathing changes you.

When life gets stressful, I’m usually one who goes straight to “worst possible outcome” and then I park myself in my worry chair, and rock forever on the front porch.   Since I’ve begun classes, I’m noticing that each day it gets easier and easier to stress less, and gently guide my mind in a more positive direction.  I’ve noticed myself being more kind to my reflection; instead of spewing words of hatred and loathing, it’s becoming natural to speak to myself out of love.  To recognize the qualities I look for in others, and manifest them within myself.  I’m also learning to project this new-found light of love on those around me.

I’ve learned coping skills in the last two weeks that I never would have thought of in my entire 28 years.  I’m learning to see my life (and myself) in an entirely new perspective, and it’s so amazing.  Gratitude.  Self-Love.  Appreciation.  Calm.

Slowly, but surely, I’m moving towards where I’m meant to be, and this journey is bringing me so much happiness.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have a lot of progress to make but somehow things just feel so much easier, lighter.  This is something I’ve needed, yet denied, for far too long.  Follow your instincts.  ❤

PS: I went shopping in the ‘big city’ this weekend, and Victoria’s Secret had an INCREDIBLE sale on so I managed to snatch this super comfortable new outfit!  These pants are so awesome – they are thick, yet not too constricting, which means you won’t feel like you can’t breath and your entire bum will not show through in downward dog.  Bonus!