an outfit, an essay, and an invite

Tuesday, October 10

 Boots: Target, Jeans: Levi 501s, Top: ASOS (old), Sunglasses: Amazon, Hat: Free People, Earrings: ASOS, Purse: Sole Society

I hope you like berets, cause this one is gonna be here for a minute.
But that's not what I'm here to talk about.
I'm here to talk about self-acceptance.
Specifically an essay that I was asked to write for a course entitled, The Truth About Beauty, about when I accidentally started studying about body acceptance.
So, if you'd like to read it, you can FIND IT HERE.

The next thing I need to mention is about the Inside Out: 7-day self-care challenge, because we're only on day 2 over there, and HOLY MOSES. You guys. I have never been so moved as I have been by the trust and vulnerability that this community of women has shown in our group sharing. If you are in need of upliftment, of courage, of finding a truer sense of self, please join us. It IS a 7-day challenge, but can be worked on at your own pace and shared as you go, so if you'd like to join, don't worry about being behind. Plenty have signed up later.
I'm so grateful to have you, and these magnificent women in my life.
My goodness.

can you see me?

Thursday, October 5

So I was working with a friend on defining her personal style today. One of the questions I asked her was, "when you get dressed in the morning and leave your house, do you want your clothes to help you blend into the crowd or do you want people to notice you?"
And her answer, although on the apologetic side, was, "Well ... I don't know ... I like to be noticed."
And I thought, yes.
Courageous honesty. I want to be seen. I want to be recognized. Even in the the seemingly inconsequential: Yes I do want others to see my style and connect with what I'm wearing.

So why is that so scary to admit? Why is it scary for even me to admit?? I mean I have a public blog about wearing clothes for goodness sakes, and it still feels vulnerable for me to say, "yeah girl, I want to be noticed." Why do we, the females of this earth, the predominant players on social media, have the hardest time admitting that we want to be seen. And not in the way that we're used to. Not in the way that involves being desired. But being seen in the way that requires us to own having desire.

It's the game we play amongst ourselves on the internet all day, behind our instagram accounts and our blogs, hoping to be noticed and heard and acknowledged and validated, all the while perpetually down-playing the efforts we make in order to do so. What if we just gave ourselves permission to mutually acknowledge each other's honest human need for significance. Permission for ourselves and for others to say, judgement free, "Here I am. Look at me for a minute. I want to take up space." We post beautiful pictures of our lives, of our families, of our homes, of ourselves, and we shrug it off as frivolous and silly and even disconnective, when truly, the only underlying question beneath all of it is, "can you see me?" But we don't admit that. Because no one wants to look like they're trying to be seen, and yet we're all trying our flipping asses off.

This has been such a part of the blogger/influencer game in particular. When people first started to ask how online platforms could be grown, I feel like everyone was just shrugging and saying, "man I don't even know! It just happened!" No one admitted to wanting it. No one admitted to implementing strategy. Heaven forbid you'd admit to wanting to make a living off of it. The truth is, when I first started writing, way waaay back in the day, I would comment and connect with others who were starting their blogs like it was my job. I wanted my words to be read. My life to be known. And I made the effort to make it happen. And then I remember other bloggers being made fun of and shamed when they referred to what they were doing as their "job", so I quickly learned, "Oh! So that's how we do it here. We don't try. We just happen." And the pretending began. In fact, the appearance of not trying was such a part of my psyche for years, that I held myself back from altering my status quo and going after what I wanted, because it would've meant making a very public effort of trying. And that felt way too risky to admit I wanted something different, and then maybe fail at getting it.

I want to stop those patterns. I want to want. I want to be known - and own that. I want to belong to myself more deeply and take responsibility for being a whole person. I have seen what it looks like when a woman side-steps knowing herself and owning her desires until she literally breaks, and then triggers a ripple effect in those who surround her. Which is why when I heard this thought once, it was like a gong being smashed into my head: "If you don't take the time to know yourself, honor yourself, and express yourself, you require everyone else around you to manage your sense of self. It's selfishness in the name of selflessness."

*can we take a moment of silence*

Our goodness as women, is expressed in many ways, but sacrificing ourselves to the point of self-betrayal is never one of them. Own what you do. Own what you want. Be seen. Be known. And kick some ass.

an outfit + my resource guide for greater self-care

Tuesday, October 3

 Shoes: Born Jeans: ASOS, Button-Up: Urban Outfitters, Sweater: Madewell, Bag: Sole Society, Sunglasses: Amazon, Hat: Free People

Ok guys. First of all, I feel like I have to thank you. For allowing me the freedom to be many things in this online space and pretty much talk about whatever floats my boat at the moment. It may seem strange to speak of clothes and personal style, universal energy, and emotions at the same time, but the more I learn, the more I understand how seamlessly they mesh together. Mainly in the sense that I've given myself permission to step out of my self-imposed blogger box and start discovering and honoring all the various passions and interests that make up who I am. All of them are part of me. And for that reason alone, they compliment each other.
So here I am with my #OOTD, also sharing the guide I just put together of everything my hippie-ish heart has been studying and implementing lately. If you've listened to any of my instagram stories about my ectopic pregnancy and how I've begun recovering from that physically and emotionally, THIS guide is basically everything that's been in my tool box. Since then, I've made a more dedicated and concentrated effort in self care, and started to gain a brand-spanking-new understanding of the bidirectional nature of our bodies, and also quantum mechanics. God is the ultimate artist and the ultimate scientist and I've loved getting to learn a little bit more about how He designed the function of this body I live in.

So! If you think it might help you, or if it interests you at all, you can find the (free) guide HERE!

Happy Reading! Oh and happy Fall too. OMG SWEATERS.

Let's spend 4 whole weeks together! One on one

Friday, September 8

 Hey, guess what. I'M DOING A GIVEAWAY!! And the prize is me!! lol.

Specifically, it's you and me. One on one. Over Skype, throughout the course of a month. Diving deep into who you are, and what you want, and how those answers are directly correlated with having insane confidence in your personal style and ability to build your wardrobe with purpose and intention. 
We're gonna get to the bottom of all of it! 

It's definitely out of my comfort zone to be throwing something out there that has the potential to seem a LIIIITLE diva-y, but I'm also in the thick of learning that my best life only exists outside my comfort zone, so here I am. Running a giveaway that is basically screaming, "I'm worth something!"

Which I am, dammit. And so are you. And we are capable of adding huge value to each other's lives.

So let's do it! Here's how you enter. Just fill out this survey, RIGHT HERE.
Thanks you guys, I can't wait! 

P.S. If you missed it yesterday! I made a quick guide to living more intuitively, with a list of all my top favorite podcasts, books, and videos that have flipped my world on its head lately. Download it HERE!

my top favorite podcasts, books, and videos - in a guide!

Thursday, September 7

You guys, I feel so official right now. I made a guide! It's downloadable! And I'm not tech savvy and it's 3 in the morning right now, so I'm feeling mighty victorious about all of it. I guess this will be the first unofficial announcement I've made to say that I'm in the middle of building a brand new site that will be launching alongside my also new podcast (hosted with one of my closest friends, Taylor).  Lots of exciting! Lots of fun! I can't wait! And I am so tired. 

But! Back to why you're here. 
My top favorite podcasts, books and videos that are totally going to change your life
Unless they've already changed your life, in which case, hi, do you cry from shock and awe behind your laptop too?

I know I've talked quite a bit on my social media about the podcasts and books that I've been into, but I decided to finally make something concrete, that you can have, and keep, and come back to, and reference. 

And do let me know when you start listening and having those aha moments, so we can high-five each other across the internet. WE GOT THIS!

So I just discovered that I'm a perfectionist. Literally 5 minutes ago.

Thursday, August 24

I just watched an Instagram story on the feed of my beloved Brooke White (if you don't follow her, you should, she is a soul sister in the truest sense of the word) and she was talking about her struggle with procrastination and time management, and the deeply rooted cause behind it. The root essentially being perfectionism and putting off participating in life if you feel that you can't do it perfectly. Yes indeed, ACTUALLY putting off your own damn life because you feel you can't do it perfectly. There was one quote that she pulled from Brooke Castillo's Life Coach School podcast on rejection that said, "Procrastinators are scared people." I heard that and I thought, omg that's freaking me. I've never identified as a perfectionist but holy balls am I a die-hard procrastinator. I've used procrastination since grade school as a self preservation tactic, trying to irrationally avoid judgement, and rejection for as long as humanly possible. That self preservation tactic also bled into my inclination toward being a people-pleaser. So much so, that it nearly destroyed me when years ago, I discovered that there were people on the internet who deeply disliked me. I began writing to please them, and in turn, the soul of my writing became nearly unrecognizable while I slowly, daily, betrayed myself.

"People pleasers are liars", says Brooke Castillo and her truth bombs. Saying you like something when you don't. Saying you're ok with something when you aren't. I had become so good at lying. I'm still good at it, when I allow myself to be. Like a weak muscle memory. For years, I brought this damage on my relationship with my own mom when I put my self-imposed need to please and avoid potential rejection, over my deeper need to speak my truth. And it was only when my truth became so overpowering, so insistent, even bubbling over into my nightly dreams, that I was forced to confront and speak it, and the relationship was sent on its way toward repair and healing.

Perfection. Procrastination. Self Preservation. Back in the ol' heyday of blogging, I was invited several times to speak on panels at various conferences. This is not a brag. At the time I was horrified. At first, in a moment of panicked white-knuckling, I said yes, and then, eventually, I would find a back-doored way to say no. I didn't trust myself to speak out loud -- most certainly not to a room full of people. I didn't trust them to not judge me, not reject me. Yet this universal invitation to speak, and to become stronger than I was in that moment, was not eliminated, only delayed.

I am now, in the early stages of not being scared of myself. And when I say the early stages, I'm talking like a year and a half deep here. I am daily, hourly, digging deep on my why. And I am, for the first time, trusting myself to vocally speak in front of those I love ( um, you). Yet the knowledge and confidence that I truly do have something to say, is racing neck and neck with my fear that I won't say it eloquently enough. I am in the middle of launching a podcast, and while I feel, deep down in my bones, that this is part of my purpose right now, I am in the very same moment, combatting negative self talk about my ability to execute it with the grace and ease of others. The term "others" is not a mirror in which to view oneself, but damn if I don't use it as one.

Also within these early stages of not being scared of myself ... officially known as, "come at me bro part 1, 2 and 3" ... I am diving into the realm of creating courses as an alternative, and what I hope to be a deeply fulfilling, new way to make a daggum living on these internets. And you know what is the dumbest? Perfectionism. That's what's the dumbest. I know my purpose, I know my why, (thank you to Alison's Brand Workshop for that, it was my literal emergency hotline) I know what I want to do, and yet I am stunted, and paralyzed by my impulse to indulge the poison of perfection. I let fear of judgement back in. Fear of rejection. And I am so not down with that.

So here is my truth. I am going to speak it now.
Not anymore.

my ectopic pregnancy

Wednesday, August 2

If you've seen any of my Instagram stories within the last week or so, then you probably have a good idea of what's in this post. But I still feel the need to write about it. Because that's just what we do here. That's what this place is for. Feel free to skip if you don't want to read anything having to do with fallopian tubes.

We weren’t trying for a baby. We honestly were’t even considering trying for another until maybe next year sometime. (At least I wasn’t. Tyson would’ve already had a newborn wrapped to him right now if it were totally up to him.) So a possible pregnancy was the absolute last thing on my mind when I started bleeding. I had an IUD, (still have an IUD, though not for much longer) and with the kind that I had (the Mirena) I hadn’t had a period for the three years since I’d gotten it. I didn’t think much of it at first, I thought maybe I had just pushed my luck with the three blissful years of not buying tampons, and now my time was up. It wasn’t until I hit the two week mark that I started to think that maybe this was more than just an incredibly delayed period. I called my midwives back in Virginia, who were the ones who gave me the IUD after Isla was born, and their first response was to tell me that I should probably take a pregnancy test. This was the exact opposite advice I expected to hear. I hung up with them, and Everett who was in the backseat of the car at the time, asked me if I was pregnant. I answered with at least half a dozen toned-down versions of “there is no way in hell” while we finished driving over to Walgreens to pick up a pregnancy test. I drove home, drank a ton of water, and then took one. I didn’t even have to wait 10 seconds before the line started to appear. And in between the perfect storm of swear words and also an unexpected excitement and peace, I laughed. I’m pregnant. I’m pregnant. I’m pregnant. Ok. I’m pregnant!

I called Tyson at work and congratulated him on officially winning the “when are we having the next baby” debate ;), and then called my aunt to see if she could get me a last minute appt with her incredible OB/GYN sister-in-law.

At this point, I was still taking it all in with a grain of salt, since the only sign of the pregnancy was the bleeding. I hadn’t felt sick, no sore boobs, no unusual tiredness. I had felt 100% myself. It was such a strange range of emotions to experience, all so contradictory to each other, and all surfacing at the exact same time. The shock, and then more shock, the excitement, the peace, the fear, the visualization of doing it all for the third time, the imagining of the tiny little bean I didn’t know was in my body, while also mentally preparing to lose it, and kicking myself for waiting two weeks to ask questions.

The next day Tyson met me at the hospital for a blood draw and ultrasound. The ultrasound techs never really tell you anything until the doctor can meet with you, but after a long while of looking at a bunch of black, it was pretty clear that my uterus was empty, except for the IUD, which was exactly in the place that it should’ve been. Afterwards we met with the doctor, and had it confirmed that this was most likely an ectopic pregnancy, which means that the pregnancy had implanted in one of my fallopian tubes. Their best guess was that I was between 6-8 weeks along, which was incredibly lucky because the risk of the tube rupturing grows significantly after 8 weeks. Since there’s no way to move the fetus from the tube and into the uterus, this type of pregnancy isn’t viable. The only options are to either inject a chemotherapy drug called methotrexate, that will dissolve the pregnancy, or go in through surgery and remove it that way. The surgery also presents the likely risk of losing the tube and ovary completely, so obviously the methotrexate is the recommended first step.

We waited for about three days and then did another blood draw to confirm that my HCG levels did actually indicate an irregular pregnancy (in case we had missed something on the ultrasound). It was a Sunday when the on-call doctor called to confirm that it was, indeed, ectopic and that I needed to go in immediately for the methotrexate. This was when it really started to suck.

Up until that point, I’d been in a fairly peaceful state. I knew logically what I would have to do if it was an ectopic pregnancy. And it was actually what I was planning on, with only the slightest, tiniest, barely-there part of me holding out hope that my levels would be normal and the baby was just merely too tiny to see in the ultrasound. So when he called, I was completely thrown off guard when I felt instant, stinging sadness.

I did not want to take that drug. I hated that drug. I hated knowing what it was going to do. I hated that this baby was made to grow in the wrong place at the wrong time. I hated that it had been put there as a side effect of the thing I had put in my body. I hated the word “dissolve”. I hated sitting there with the wonderful nurse that was trying so hard to make the injection suck less, and feeling the sting spread throughout the muscle, knowing that it was on its way.

The physical pain that followed in the next week was almost a welcome distraction. I feel so incredibly awful for those cancer patients who have to get chemotherapy on a regular basis. One injection alone put me on the ground. 10 days later and my abdomen still feels like a beat up piece of meat.

I went back to the hospital to take another blood test on Monday and then had a follow-up appt yesterday. My pregnancy levels started out as 198 and they need to get to 0. Yesterday they were only at 175. So that’s where I’m at right now. I’ll have to get more blood tests over the next two weeks to monitor their descent, and hopefully they’ll start to go down faster, but if not, I’ll need to take another shot of methotrexate. I try not to think about what all these numbers mean with what's physically happening in my body. I really really try not to think about it. Most of the day I don't. And I’ve told myself again and again that everything happens for a reason, and it has helped, because it has to.

Two things that I've discovered since all this happened is that

1. I must talk about Dr. Pepper a lot, because I have been showered in love and Dr. Pepper. I am the luckiest son of a gun with the kindest, most thoughtful friends and family. We have been so well taken care of, and I am forever grateful to everyone who has reached out to us, and to me especially. I am not alone, and neither are any of us. I feel so strongly about the power of bringing our individual places of dark into the light. And about placing the ups and downs of our lives where they can be seen and normalized. Outfit posts and ectopic pregnancies can co-exist in the same space. Anxiety attacks and a favorite recipe can co-exist in the same space. Depression and a vacation recap can co-exist in the same space. Make-up tutorials and a struggle with self-worth can co-exist in the same space. All are allowed. And all, when shared from a place of love and trust, are uniting and powerful. Thank you so much for hearing me and hurting with me and lifting me up this week, I just love you.

And 2. I'm ready for a baby now. I didn't think I was. But I felt like I lost this baby, whether it was mine to begin with or not. And I cried for what it had to go through, logical or not. And I wished that it could've been real. And so now I'm ready to try again. We won't be able to for four months, until the doctors are sure that the chemo is out of my system. But then we will. And that makes me happy.
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