Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Eyes Found Yours.

Dress, Sandals: Aeropostale.
Lipstick in NYX Matte Lipcream 'Prague'

Hello everyone!

It's somewhat personal and I didn't think I wanted to talk about it, but it was just such a cool experience I want to share with you all...it might be somewhat controversial and if you don't believe the same things I do than that's perfectly acceptable. I'm not saying you should! But please respect me and my religious views and have an open mind if you do continue to read on.

So this past week I felt the holy spirit move within me for the first time. It was a very interesting and strange occurrence. In my walk with Christ and my spiritual understanding I have never quite grasped the concept of the holy spirit. I know that it is one with Christ and God the same, and that it is there to be in us for strength. It was something I could never really wrap my mind around though and to be honest, I felt the job of the holy spirit to be somewhat...pointless? (I know it's not). But I had never felt it nor really had any spiritual connection to this third part of the trinity, and so throughout my life I've just not looked into its reality.

This past week I was feeling sort of down for various reasons. I think sometimes I can get in my own head and nothing is really wrong, but through over thinking and my sensitive nature I create things. Anyways, Friday morning I woke up just feeling heavy and burdened but started to get ready for work. I decided to play some music while I was getting ready and put on Prince of Peace: a new song from Hillsong United, the church I've been going to. It's a beautiful song and one I instantly connected to when they played it for the first time a few weeks ago at service. Maybe after it had played once through for some reason my dull mood dissipated and it was replaced with this amazing elation. Almost like the best thing in the world had just happened to me. It came out of nowhere; to go from feeling so meh to feeling 110% energetic and full of abounding happiness. 

I left the apartment just buzzing. That's the word I can use to describe the inward feeling. This buzzing going throughout my whole body and this feeling I felt like I couldn't contain. I was just bursting with happiness and needed to share it with anyone, everyone, because I wanted them to feel what I felt. I smiled like a mad woman for no particular reason on the streets as I walked to the subway and just couldn't stop. I felt like a brilliant light that couldn't be put out. 

I went down to the subway and was unsure whether to take the slower train or the faster and for some reason, was pulled to take the slower. When I got in and looked as the doors closed, I saw that someone had written "Jesus is the way" on a door and I smiled knowing that God was with me that morning.

When I got off the subway the feeling didn't stop but was amplified. I have never felt such an intense, overwhelming need to help people than I did in that moment. I saw a woman walking down the street who was hunched over and wore very dirty socks with no shoes. I walked past her but I was so bothered by what I saw I stopped. I literally walked back and forth, not knowing what to do for her, but yet pulled by this invisible force to help her. I felt like I couldn't leave without talking to her. I just couldn't. So I went up to her and asked if she was hungry or needed anything and she said no. I continued walking along and it wasn't far until I came across a homeless man who was on the ground and his sign said, "homeless and hungry." I knew I had to help him.

The sad fact of NYC is that there are many homeless people. Far, far too many. I see them everywhere I go and it breaks my heart. I look at their pained eyes, dirty feet, and few belongings and ache inside for them. I see the boxes they sleep in and I think about how I take advantage of my own comfortable, warm bed I get to sleep in at night when they sleep inside a box on the cold, wet, dirty streets of NYC. Although my heart aches for them when I pass and I always say a prayer I am ashamed that I never do anything for them. I am always in too big of a rush. I have no money on me. I don't know what to do for them. All of these excuses and it makes me ashamed. 

But this man I could not let go like all of the others I had past. I knew I would be late to work but again, the spirit was just so powerful within me that I stopped to help him. He sat outside a deli and I went in and bought him a sandwich and water. It wasn't much. But it was all I could give him at the time. I gave it to him and his eyes had a little more light than before. I told him to have a good day and that I'd be praying for him...and he told me, "God bless."

I felt the spirit within me for a little while after but soon after I got to work things fizzled out. But I could not shake the feeling of this memory of what I experienced that morning. It is truly unlike anything I've ever felt and know it was the work of the spirit within me. I don't know why. I don't know how. I can't explain why it happened on that morning, why I felt that intense need to help, or why God chose that to be the time to begin to teach me about the holy spirit. But it just was and I know that there is a reason for it all.

I think why I love NYC so much is because of how much I feel Christ's presence here. It is so prevalent to me. I have never been so filled with the love of Christ or inspired to do His will and to be immersed in the life He has planned for me. Not in Ohio, not in Europe did I feel all of this. I know He placed me here for a reason. For actually, so many different reasons. I can't help but shed tears of joy sometimes at the thankfulness I have to be able to spend my summer here and grow as a daughter of Christ in Him and in myself. I do not know what the future holds for me and where He shall place me, but at least I always know that I can find Him in New York. 

With much love, Lauren

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bewitching Hour.


Dress: c/o Deb.
Shawl: Aeropostale.
Boots: Thrifted.
Hat: c/o OASAP.

Hi there!

Snapped these outfit photos really quick in Central Park this past weekend right before I went to church. I was super rushed because I was running late (as always) but still wanted to fit some shots in of my outfit. For how muggy it was out and how rushed I was I am actually pleased with the photos. They capture perfectly that 'golden hour' so sought after in photography. To be honest though, the eerie-ness of my outfit makes it seem more like bewitching hour than golden. My mom always says this hat makes me look like a witch. I have to agree; especially in these photos, ha. 

If someone were to ask me what my favorite thing about NYC was, I think I would say the people. It's a strange answer for me because I am not a people person. I am without a doubt a text book introvert and always pick an evening to myself versus hanging out with others. But I love the people of New York because I like to study them. New Yorkers tell me I'm strange when I say I love NYC for the people. They cock their head sideways and say, " you know a bunch of crazies live here?" Every, single, time. Someone says this. But I like the crazies. I think the fascinating thing is that every crazy person in this city has a story. Sure, a lot of people are born in NYC, but most of the people come from all over the country, all over the world. I've never been immersed in such a culturally diverse city where so much is meshed together, but beautifully (even artfully) so. 

You see little pieces of people's lives as you go about through your own day. I love studying people on the subways. Finding out about who they are through the little things such as the way they're dressed, what they're reading, or how content or uncontented their face looks. I listen to their conversations and I learn not only about these people, but from these people. Watching their life pass by through this small peep hole I have for a split second helps me understand my own life.

I've never met kinder, more expressive, crazier, individualistic, interesting people than I have in New York. They are a city of united people. I think they are the essence of what it is to be American because it's every different person from every different background coexisting together to live here. I see the core of humanity here and what it is to be human and care for other humans. The emotions I see in this city on a daily basis are astounding... and leave me always wanting to know more, like a book you can't help but finish all at once. 

I'll never stop wanting to learn about the people who live here in NYC. Maybe some day I will become one of them and my story will continue here, to be studied and reflected on by someone else. All I know is that New York City is full of life. In the most abundant, raw, exciting way I've ever seen. And I love that. 

With much love, Lauren.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

NYC Adventures

Hello everyone! I've been very busy the past few weeks working during the week and going on adventures as much as I can on the weekends. I've been meaning to post more, but am usually exhausted by the end of the day...so since I had a relaxing moment this evening I thought I would do a big post on all of the photos/things/places I've visited in NYC the last few weeks! x


Serendipity
I've seen so many people rave about this restaurant/dessert place: especially their famed frozen hot chocolates. Two of my fellow interns and I visited after work on Thursday and it for sure lives up to the hype. I got the frozen peanut butter hot chocolate and it was very delicious and very huge. It's hard to explain the taste/texture. Almost like hot chocolate, a frappucchino, ice cream all rolled into one. Hope to go back again someday. x

Cafe Grumpy
I was feeling very, well, grumpy this morning after having fallen asleep last night in all my clothes with the lights on after I promised myself I would just close my eyes "for a moment." I'd had a few friends recommend this coffee place so I ventured out to it this morning. Funny how a place called cafe grumpy actually made me happier. The atmosphere was very chill and comforting, and I sat in a little nook in the front of the cafe and people watched and wrote. I got a cappuccino and it reminded me so much of Florence. Highly recommend this little place.

Greenwich Letter Press
I have three journals I constantly write in. An every day, a free writing, and one for work notes. All three are drawing to an end, so I'm in the market for new ones. I am very picky about my journals and have to make "a connection" with one (I know, I'm a freak). I was looking up online good journal/stationary places in NYC and came across this Greenwich Letter Press. This place just took my breath away and I have never been so overwhelmed by so many things I want. It was an absolute dream of beautiful, unique, hand crafted cards and quirky wonderflness (I just can't even put into words how much I loved it so now I'm using words like wonderfulness). I found a journal I really liked but didn't have enough money on me to purchase today. But definitely coming back and highly, highly recommend if you're into pretty writing things. 


Rockaway Beach
I hadn't been to the beach in around 7 years and was very excited to take a trip last weekend to the largest US public beach, Rockaway. It was an easy 1 hour subway ride away from my place and I spent the afternoon lounging and relaxing sea side. It was a very charming, lovely beach that I want to go back to again. The weather was absolutely perfect that day and I had forgotten what it felt like to dig my toes in the sand and hear the ocean waves. I caught up on some reading (have recently gotten back into reading books in my spare time), and just people watched. It was so heartwarming to watch all of the families and little children having a blast. I sipped a refreshing iced coffee and had some seriously bomb french fries with this mysterious sauce from this boardwalk  place with latina flavour. This day was just what I needed after a long work week. 

Cafe Bene
Cafe Bene is apparently a South Korean chain of coffee/waffle shops but I had never heard of them before. I've stopped in a few times and just love the coffee and atmosphere. The one I go to (Chelsea) is so charming. I like to sit in the upstairs loft where there's a giant book case and a very natural, spacious vibe. I sometimes bring my laptop here to get work done, and before I leave NYC I want to get one of their delicious waffles that are piled with fresh fruit and whipped cream. 

And here are some more photos I've snapped:
Rooftop hangs in downtown.

Stumbled upon this amazing art/writing gallery.

Took an inspiring walk across the Brooklyn Bridge

Had some amazing macaroons at the Laduree on Madison. (You've gotta try the chocolate--it's my fave!)

Always finding the unconventional in NYC.

 Love stumbling into Chinatown. Reminds me so much of my trip to China 10 years ago to get my little sister.

Somehow I always manage to find the ice cream trucks
 The beautiful place where I work. Sometimes I can't even believe it myself. 

I can take endless photos of the things I see and do here in NYC. It truly is magical. Every person must visit at least once in their life. I feel so lucky that I get to live here (even if it's only for a short period of time)

With much love, Lauren.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Evening in the City.

Polka Dot Top: Aeropostale.
Black Shorts, Earrings, Oxfords: Thrifted.
Pearls: Gift from my grandmother.

Hello everyone!

Happy Monday! It was a dreary start off of the week here in NYC but it didn't bring me down. I had such a lovely weekend I'm still riding off the high.

Friday I had the day off for a summer Friday and just used it to wander around the city on my own. That's the fantastic thing about NYC: you don't have to have plans for the day, but just stumble upon them wherever you go. I did some window shopping, went to a museum, wrote in the park, and visited the Union Square market. It was just simply my first lovely summer day here in the city.

On Saturday I made my way to Rockaway beach which is south of Brooklyn and about a 1 hour and 10 minute subway ride. Not bad really! Being from Ohio, I haven't been to the beach in about 6 years and it was just so lovely. I have some pictures to share, and will write more about it in a later post! In the evening, I met up with a blog reader and we hung out on her downtown rooftop apartment as the evening closed. Simply beautiful.

Sunday I sheepishly slept in until 2:15--something I haven't done for a long while! But my body needed it so I didn't feel too guilty about relaxing. I sipped some coffee at a new favorite called Cafe Bene which has such a relaxing atmosphere. Then, I met up with my blogging friend Hannah (whom I also hung out with last weekend!) and we had a wonderful evening. She made us homemade pad thai and it was seriously SO good. The girl knows how to cook and I feel so lucky she shared her talents with me! We also both snapped some outfit photos outside (these above) and then headed off to church at Hillsong. The service was lovely per usual and it was especially spectacular to share it with a friend. To finish the wonderful evening, we got Ben and Jerry's ice cream to go and walked through the rain talking about the evening's message till we parted ways at the subway.

Although I certainty love work, there's nothing like the weekends here in NYC. Already planning the coming one out eagerly! x

With much love, Lauren.
 

Friday, June 12, 2015

This is Living.


Every day I am amazed at the magic New York City holds. Last weekend was my first opportunity to go exploring and I took every moment I could to soak in the city. I ended up down in the financial district after some wandering and stumbled across the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge. I walked across, taking my time and just thinking. I was about half way through the bridge when I stopped, looked back, and it just took my breath away. To see the beautiful city silhouette from a far was awe inspiring. With the mix of nature and one of the most incredible man made cities in the world I was just over come with emotions. Sometimes I get like that being a very emotionally driven individual and these are moments I live for. Where everything hits me at once and I feel alive. 

I took the time on the bridge just to reflect about my life right now and where it's heading. I left Ohio broken a month ago. My life and heart very much deeply hardened with sorrow from a breakup where I was cheated on. To have a year of my life just taken away from me like that from a person I deeply cared about: It changed everything for me. How I saw myself, how I saw my relationships with others, how I saw men... To have put your full self into another person and then have them do that to you...it messed me up. And I'm still messed up. I didn't understand and I still don't. I lived in fear back home. Fear of seeing him, fear of stumbling upon reminders, fear of finding mementos I forgot to get rid of. I left Ohio very eager to get away to New York. To get my mind on other things and to find a new life.

And I have found that here and more. Things make sense to me here and my heart, every day is healed by every step I walk on these cobbles stones, every smile from a stranger on the subway, every wonderful opportunity filled day at my job. I have found the absolute beauty and life in New York City that I didn't think I would find for a long time after what happened. I see love all over here, and know that it can still exist in my own life like it does in this incredible city.

For the most part, I have kept things very bottled up since things happened two months ago. Which is highly unusual for me. With my last breakup (three years ago), every day was like being broken all over again. I relived the break up each day and I was miserable in my sorrow for about a year and a half. But this time there is no crying, there are no angry blog posts about it...I really don't even write in my journal about it which is very, very odd. I guess I've matured from my last breakup and for me, being cheated on made me feel lucky in a sort of way. It made me realize what I'll never settle for again and that the person who did doesn't deserve to be in my life any longer. And I'm thankful for those things.

Anyways, I've pretty much been doing well and not really thinking about those circumstances, letting NYC heal me until I got to this bridge the other day. And it just all clicked.

I am going to be okay. This sense of absolute peace, understanding, and gratitude washed over me. I couldn't help the tears that welled up in my eyes because although I have not been outwardly showing my hurt, I think inwardly I have been on a deeper level. Wondering if I could ever love again, if anyone could love me after all of this...but just seeing this city from afar, realizing the incredible things I am doing here in NYC, and just how much I have grown so far in the short month I have been here. It was like I was free. I had a day like this from my previous breakup where there is finally peace and I wrote about it here. It was interesting that I had another one of those instances with this moment, and had to write it down.

So I found a bench near where I was and just began furiously writing. As fast as my pen would go so I could get all my thoughts down. I felt free and on fire and alive and I thought to myself, "I wish there was some way I could capture this moment, so that I would always remember what it felt like." 

Along comes this guy and I can feel him staring at me, the air of uncomfortable urgency surrounding us. I knew he was going to ask me something, but I just kept writing, trying to get everything on paper I was feeling. He finally came up to me and introduced himself that he was a photographer and wanted to take my photo because he thought it would be a great photo of me writing with the bridge behind me. I was overwhelmingly happy that he asked. It was the strangest coincidence...this moment for me, where I longed for someway to capture what I was feeling and here was this guy, waiting to capture it for me.

He took these wonderful photos above and I cherish them so much and they will always be something I hang onto. He was able to capture so wonderfully that day and what I felt. My intentness on writing, the blustery wind and the brilliant scenery all around. I think God has a really funny but extraordinary sense of humor. There is no doubt in my mind that he timed this perfectly. I owe everything I am to Him. He does incredible, unbelievable things in my life.

Only in New York would something like this happen. This magic that I cannot explain, but only feel. Anything can and does happen in this city. I have never had so many incredible things happen to me in such a short amount of time, and I know that God put me in this city for a reason. To heal me, to nurture me, to teach me, to love me.

Eternally grateful to Chris who took these shots.. He is a talented photographer/videographer here in NYC running Xviieon Imagery. His email is Chrislmauldin[at]gmail.com if you would like to contact him about work! x

I have many more incredible NYC adventures to tell you all about soon...but for now, I'll just leave you with this one until next time! x

With much love, Lauren.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Start a Fire in My Soul.













































Dress, Sandals, Necklace, Earrings: Thrifted.

Hello everyone

Hope your weekend was well! I'm here at the end of Monday wishing it were still the weekend...it was just so lovely to really 'experience' New York for the first time and it left me craving more. I wore this outfit on Sunday to go out exploring and then to church in the evening. 

I don't know if I've mentioned it on here, but I've been going to Hillsong! It has been just incredible. They are the artists' of my all time favorite song (that I've even thought about getting tattooed on me); Oceans. Not only do they have an incredible worship service  with about 2,200 (per service!) people, but each week I'm so inspired and encouraged by the messages. I've never been to a church so on 'fire' like Hillsong and it's an honor to attend every week. I get chills to feel God's presence during service, and have found myself worshiping as passionately as when I first became a Christian. At the end of the day, it's not about the 'celebrity status' pastors, the expensive sound systems, and the worship band with a record deal. It's about feeling and connecting with Christ, and I do here. On such a deep level. New York City has been great to live in as a Christian because I just feel like I am constantly witnessing God's work everywhere I go. It's inspiring and instills in me the need to make differences myself, and per sue Christ more than ever in a city where I thought I would become lost: but I've been found. I find myself praying more, talking to Christ more, and just more excited than ever to serve. I pray that this fire NYC has ignited in me won't burn out when I go back to Ohio-- but continues to burn for the rest of my life! x

With much love, Lauren.