Monday, August 24, 2015

Inside These Pages.

Topshop Dress: Gift from blogging friend Kezzie!
Straw Hat: Thrifted.
Necklace: c/o Sparkle Box. 

Hi there!

When I studied abroad over in Europe last year (it's already been a year since I left!) my class took a five day visit to England and I was able to meet up with a dear blogging friend, Kezzie. She's followed me from the very beginning days of my blog and it was so wonderful to finally meet her in person. Pretty surreal if I'm being honest! She was so incredibly sweet, too, and gifted me this beautiful topshop dress. I never got a chance to snap photos of it when I was in Italy, then it was winter, then I went to New York City...so FINALLY this beautiful dress got the photos it deserved. Thank you so much Kezzie-- I will cherish this dress forever! x

Yesterday evening I went to a sort of worship concert at my church that was sponsored by the new young adult program they started up. I've never been a person who's gone to concerts or listened to live music, but last night really clicked with me how much I love it. There's something so invigorating about hearing music live that I feel like I've spent way too long missing out on. It just makes you feel very alive with all of the energy of the crowd and the band. The overwhelming feeling of being in that moment and in that place. It fills me with such joy. Last night reminded me of when I was in Prague last year and I went to this underground dive bar/punk dance club sort of place. I remember never having experienced anything like it or having known that something like that existed. Beer was being slung every where, it was dark and moody with people moving to the music quite like they were possessed. But I was so enthralled by it all because like last night, I felt so alive and so in tune with what it meant to be living. It doesn't matter where I am-- a kind of sketchy bar in the Czech Republic or the auditorium of a church--the feeling is the same. That universalism is mind blowing.

My sudden discovery of my love for live music has me super excited for seeing Ed Sheeran for the second time here in a few weeks! I'm seeing him in Cleveland on the 18th of September and am absolutely pumped. He's my all time favorite artist because of his song writing. He tells such intricate stories with his songs that seem so personal that I feel like I almost shouldn't be listening to them. I of course love his bigger songs like A Team and his recent single Photograph (probably my favorite from his new album), but his lesser known songs are what really speak to me. Wake Me Up is my all time favorite song EVER, and Cold Coffee, One, Nina, and You Need Me and I Don't Need You are amazing, as well. Also, how can someone make Trap Queen sound so beautiful? x

With much love, Lauren.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Just Write.

Rose Dress: c/o Fleet Collection (old)
Nude Flats: c/o Pink and Pepper (old)
Pendant Necklace: c/o Sparkle Box.
Earrings: Thrifted.
Lipstick in MAC's Craving.
Journal: Target.

I've never written as much as I did when I was in New York City. It seemed I was always having a new 'moment' I had to document and it felt like I couldn't ever write enough to truly document how I felt in those given moments. I started carrying around my journal with me in my purse throughout the summer because I so often found when I was out that something would strike me I needed document. I suppose I could have always jotted it down in my notes on my iphone, but there is something just comforting and magic about seeing my thoughts written out on a blank page as a nice, black ink pen fills up the empty space. It's an addicting sensation.

I documented a lot of things. People that struck me as interesting or unique. I didn't have headphones this summer and it was sort of a blessing because I got to hear a lot of interesting conversations people would have in the subway. That was probably one of my favorite places to people watch. I'm not really sure why. Maybe it's because  everyone is so busy trying to get somewhere and go about their own business, that they don't have time to notice and be freaked out by the strange girl on the subway obviously studying them. But it allowed me to see them as they were; without them trying to position themselves in a way that is more acceptable to others. I could see their anger, sadness, worry, happiness, and fear because in New York you are too caught up in your own moment to worry about any one else's. It really allowed me to see some interesting, heart warming, and sometimes heart breaking, things.

I wrote in incredibly busy places. Like on the Brooklyn bridge as hundreds of people passed me going from one side of the city to another. Or other times I would write in really quiet places. I'd find a nook in Central Park, a lot of times by the water, and just fall into a world where everything was silent around me but the scratch of that pen on the paper. It's funny because in both the quiet and in the loud I still found peace in writing. One environment was not preferred over the other. It was just the complete essence of New York and its atmosphere that inspired me to write.

I don't think I'm a good writer. My sentence structure is absolutely horrid with run ons for days and it's just not a developed, mature writing form. It's pretty embarrassing actually how bad it is from the standpoint of everything I write usually three equivalent verbs with descriptors afterwards like..."and I thought____, I looked ____, I felt___" ect, ect. Or I do "powerful and meaningful" statements that are really just a long series of sentence fragments. I've been writing the same way since high school and it's not a very advanced way of writing, but more of a juvenile stream of consciousness. I'm terrible at getting my point across quickly and my weakness lies in the fact that I drone on and on without any real clarity....

Despite my weak writing skills, I can't help but love it. And when I free write in a journal, I'm far less self conscious than when I write on here or publicly because I know that the way I write doesn't really matter. It's more about what I have to say.

I hope I always continue writing, despite my embarrassment over my skills. I've always loved it and have found journals from when I was as young as first grade, to seventh grade, and now I've kept one solidly for the last three and a half years. I've filled up so many and if there was ever a fire...they'd be the first thing I grabbed. They're precious to me and just such a part of my soul that I would never get back if I lost them. 

I went out and bought three new journals (I only needed one, but I couldn't help myself) because I still have so very much I want to write about that I experienced in New York City. Hoping I never stop writing, even if it's just for myself. You don't necessarily have to be good at something to have a passion for it. x

With much love, Lauren.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lessons Learned.

Peplum Top, Necklace: Thrifted.
Tuxedo Pants: H&M.
Spiked Heels: TJ Maxx.
Bow Belt: Aeropostale.

Hello

In Ohio I've never really been hit on by men. It's was a foreign concept for men to be interested in me because I feel I've just always been unattractive enough and dress too strangely to pique their interest. When I moved to New York City, it was shocking to me to be hit on by men because it's something that's never happened. Perhaps it's because I come across sheer thousands of more people in one day than I do in a week in Ohio. Or, perhaps I just had a glow to me because I was so happy in New York. I really don't know (it still perplexes me to this day why men were suddenly so interested in me). But with men's sudden interest in me, I dipped my toes into the world of dating this summer.

Between one five year relationship, taking a good year and a half to get over that, and then dating another for a year... I haven't had much time for casually going on dates. It's a concept so foreign to me and if I think about it, actually kind of funny that at 22 years old I'd really never played the dating game. Both my boyfriends had been from my home town and I knew them before we dated. There really wasn't much of a 'courting' process; we just liked each other and started dating. That was it! So it was perplexing and like a whole new world to go out on these dates with these random guys I met throughout the city this summer.

Some I met on tinder; which my fellow interns at Cosmo dared me to get because they thought it would be a hilarious experience for a girl like me. (turns out they were right). Others I met just out and about where they asked for my number. I learned so much from each guy I went on a date (or two, or three) with. Some were jerks; others were honestly the nicest guys I've ever met. Casually dating this summer was a huge stepping stone for me in the big scheme of helping me further develop who I am as a person. Because it's one thing to be yourself by yourself. Another to be yourself with a solid boyfriend. And a whole other level to be yourself with a strange man whom you're trying to impress. 

Some dates I can say I was completely myself, and would let my guard down so the guy could see the real me. Other dates I frustrated myself because I allowed myself to be controlled by the opinions of people who don't matter. I let my insecurities take over. Not necessarily physical insecurities, but personality ones. I've never been confident in my personality because it's not one people naturally gravitate to. It's definitely not a "people person" personality. I don't know how to be funny and I'm incredibly awkward unless I'm engaging in deep, meaningful conversation. When I'm there, I feel comfortable. But if I'm trying to stay afloat in surface level small talk, I find myself quickly drowning in a sea of "they must think I'm boring, odd, unintelligent, and very dull" panic.

 I learned quickly after those dates that if I felt like I couldn't be myself with the guy, then he wasn't worth my time. It was an important lesson I took away to not dim my shine down for any man; no matter how insecure I feel. I now know that the right man will see my light and admire me even more for it

I have a lot of thoughts on my dating experiences this summer. Lots of revelations realized and pieces of advice taken from lessons (sometimes) learned. I feel kinda like Taylor Swift right now if I'm being honest, but I really can't wait to continue sharing the pieces and parts of these moments I had with you all. Dumb as it sounds, dating shaped me so much more as a person because there is no harsher reality of learning about yourself than through boldly making mistakes. Living boldly. Words I never thought would apply to my life. I'm a person who loves routine and safety. By allowing myself to live boldly this summer though, I opened myself to parts I didn't know existed. It felt so incredible to finally reach outside that comfort zone I've trapped myself in.

With much love, Lauren.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Vintage at the Carnival.

1950's Plaid Dress: Vintage shop in Florence.
Patent Oxfords, Bracelet: Forever21.
Messenger Bag, Earrings: Thrifted.

Hello

This past weekend was my town's annual carnival which is something I always look forward to. It's a tradition to go every year: one I started out doing with my first boyfriend Matt and have continued on doing in the years since we've broken up. Just because I'm single doesn't mean I can't enjoy all of the 'couple-y' attractions carnivals have-- a little sister is just as good of a date as any boy! We spent the evening on Friday playing rip off games  (which you have to admit, are addicting), stuffing our faces with delicious funnel cake, and having sister giggle fits over the silliest of things. Oh, and watching good ole pig races because this is Ohio we're talking about! I cherish these moments with her so very much. She's my little best friend. Without her I don't laugh half as much or love as much either. What a blessing being a sister is. One I begged my parents years for and although they couldn't have another biological...they gave me an even greater gift with Gracie. I love her so deeply; deeper than blood could ever, ever run. She'd be the only reason I couldn't move away to New York City because it would kill me to be away from her. Her little infectious laugh, smart wit, and amazing cuddles. Watching her grow up has been the greatest pleasure, and as she nears 12 this October I'm filled with dread hoping that she's never too cool for me as we begin to enter these 'dangerous' years. 

I am many titles. Student. Blogger. Friend. Coworker. But I think the title of being sister is the greatest and most rewarding of all. 

With much love, Lauren.

P.S. She snapped all of these photos for me, as well. Isn't she fantastic? x

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sensitvity is a Strength.

Vintage Hawaiian Dress, Boater: Thrifted.
Heels: c/o, very old!

*sorry this is so long; I have a hard time condensing my thoughts on this subject*



I've been sensitive as far back as I can remember. There's things people said to me as a little girl, growing up, that still stick in my mind and hurt my feelings at 22 years old. I don't feel like you choose to be sensitive or not: you just are by nature. It's drove me crazy over the years to have these incredibly heightened feelings that seem to be offended at the slightest criticism or offhanded comment that's not even maliciously intended.

The moments in which my sensitivity especially bother me though are confrontations. Instead of being able to hold my own, establish rapport in arguments and moments when I need to be firm...I crack. I falter and cannot help but cry. I do not cry because I want to: it's almost like this response mechanism so ingrained in me that I can't help but submit to. And nothing is more embarrassing or frustrating than breaking into hot, angry tears when you want a person to respect you or take you seriously. 

I can't really think of any area of my life where my sensitivity hasn't affected things. In friendships, I'm always reading too much into what people say to me and twisting their words in my mind. Simple statements can be turned into absolute turning points in relationships as I mull over things. In school, I've always taken that A- with as much of a blow as a F would be to another person. Pouring over what I could have done and taking far more personal offense to a stupid letter grade than one should ever really spend time on. In work when applying for internships and jobs over the past few years I've always tended to list sensitivity as a main weakness when they ask me. I should probably do the trick all my professors suggest and say something that's not really a weakness at all like, "perfectionist, works too hard," but if I'm being honest, I can't help but say sensitivity. A simple snappy comment by a boss who just wants things done right tends to have me spiraling into panic and thinking for days and days how I could have been so stupid...

Sometimes when I go back and read my journals the opening sentence will be "I hate that I'm so sensitive" or along the lines of "if I could change one thing about me, it would be how sensitive I am" as I launch into some story about how this personality defect has affected my life that day. Sensitivity sucks because it makes you feel so deeply and so often. It's not a come and go thing: it's an everyday, in your face, deep down in your soul type of annoyance that can't be shaken.

I'd heard New York City was the worst place to go if you were sensitive. The concrete jungle is not where the faint of heart go. Every day you are faced with harsh realities that slap you in the face and expect you to keep going. I've feared New York City for a very long time because I knew it was the place that sensitive people were to avoid at all costs. It's the city for the strong of heart, brutally honest, rough and tough. So by definition: not me. Upon learning I would be spending my summer there I was filled with such fear that my overly sensitive heart would be placed in the dog eat dog world of fashion,in the heart of NYC, where movies such as Devil Wears Prada are based...I knew my sensitivity was going to be a weakness.

Turns out though it wasn't. Not even in the slightest bit. For the first time in my life, sensitivity wasn't a weakness for me. It was a strength.

In a city where so much is going on many New Yorkers become calloused to it all. To the homeless man on the corner; to the brightness of the lights at night; to the sheer size of the city and how truly lucky they are to live in one of the most incredible places on earth. I saw all these people living their lives with such callousness and knew I never wanted to be like that. I didn't want to ever stop looking at New York with the magic it held in my eyes and drinking it all in so deeply. The bad thing about sensitivity is that it causes you to feel so much all at once. But the absolutely magical thing about it is that in places like New York, that are absolutely incredible, indescribable...you see it differently than everyone else. You can go through life tired of feeling so much; but when you finally feel something that's right, to feel it that deeply--the kind of deep you once wished would go away-- now becomes a special gift no one else has.

I stood out in New York because I never let that sensitivity leave my heart. I treated every moment with wonder; looked at every opportunity as incredible because that's what it was to my sensitive heart. I let myself feel, truly feel, with every ounce of my being and it was so freeing just to feel and be alive. If I didn't feel, I would live a sad life. I would live a cold life full of nothingness; and to me, feeling nothing will always be so much more of a fear of mine than feeling everything. 

To have people cherish my sensitivity was also the most surprising and humbling thing I found in NYC. I've always seen it as a weakness to be so emotional. I wished I could be strong. I've had so many people in the past tell me to stop thinking so much, stop getting hurt so easily, stop looking at the tiny details that don't matter. The people in New York though whom I met all said the same thing: they saw something different in me, something special. I was shocked, because I've never seen anything special in me in my entire life. I couldn't put my finger on it what they saw, how they said I wasn't like anyone they'd ever met (that's probably one of the best compliments I've ever had in my entire life). I thought back to conversations I'd had with them, things I'd done, gestures I made and I realized what it all pointed back to.

 In a place that is so insensitive my sensitivity shined. Where you would think that a "I don't care attitude" would be embraced so much more than a "I care too much" one it was the opposite. My heart felt conversations, deep thoughts, quiet tears all held so much more than the commotion around me. Because I wasn't afraid to let myself feel, others were able to do that, too. I've always wondered if I could make it in the fashion industry because of my sensitive nature and naive heart and thankfully, this summer I proved it to myself that yes. I can make it. Where my doubt lay that I would crumble...I flourished and blossomed. Finding comfort in the fact that I can be myself; I can be vulnerable; I can be kind. And still succeed and succeed wildly. 

Don't discredit things you find as weaknesses in yourself. You can think your entire  life that a 'weakness' (like my sensitivity) is a downfall. But, there comes a time when it all comes together and makes sense. You are the way you are for a reason. Revel in that.

With much love, Lauren.