January 31, 2012

WIWW: Pajamas

I told myself that 2012 would be a great year. I set big goals and high expectations and planned to chase hard and fast after them. However, this month I have been hit with sickness after sickness. It seemed to attacked just about every organ in my body. So needless to say I've been living in pajamas almost all 31 days of January. So I've put some of the goals on hold as I've spent a lot of time resting and recuperating. I'll even admit that I've gone out on multiple errands looking like the photo below, and just ignored all the weird stares I got along the way.

hoodie and ruffled top: old navy
pants: target
booties: mini boden
headband and clutch: gussy sews

In all my aches and pains I've learned that I'm probably going to need to give up gluten, which may help some of the major health problems I have going on. So if you know anyone with great gluten advice, let me know! I'm ready to get out of my pjs and back to the world!


January 19, 2012

Words of Encouragement

Six years ago, I sat down for coffee with my sweet friend, Heather. I remember looking at her wide eyed as she told me, "you have a gift. Your words are a gift to this world." I kind of laughed at her because I would never say I'm good with words. In fact, I often find myself stumbling to get out exactly what I want to say on a daily basis. But at barely 20 years of age, I knew that she was right. There is nothing more that I love that sitting down and hand writing cards with words of encouragement.

In 2009 and 2010, I made goals for myself instead of New Year's resolutions. Both years I made the goal to bless as many people as I possibly could with my gift, and I did just that. In 2009, I wrote a letter and made a baked good and delivered it them on Sundays to all those who had been a blessing to me. And In 2010, I wrote as many cards as I could, as often as I could. I learned to count my blessings through each letter I wrote, and gratitude flowed and ebbed out of my heart as a result.

However, I feel like I let go of my gift in 2011. I stopped writing cards and making baked goods, and I noticed that I felt less grateful over time. In essences, I felt like I was losing a part of myself and who God had made me to be. I stopped writing because I was in the amidst of changing jobs, of launching a business, and of shifting my life in an entirely different direction. However, in all that shift, I feel like I left a part of myself behind, and I made excuses as to why that was okay along the way. This past November, a friend suggested that I pray that my heart be open to opportunities where I could use my gifts to bless someone else. So in December, I decided that I wanted to pursue those opportunities with giving, and giving until it hurt. I blessed 25 strangers with cards, mittens, hugs, gift cards, clothes, and love. It served to remind me of my gift, and how I'm called to use it.

We are all hurting, we are all struggling, and fighting battles. No one ever promised that it would be an easy journey through life. Someone once told me, "you never know when your words will be exactly what they need to hear in order to get back up again." Therefore, I try to say as many kind things as often as I can, to as many people as I can. So I decided that this year I'm getting back on track. Yesterday, I had a change of pace, went to the library, and wrote 42 thank you notes. I wrote until I couldn't write anymore, and I walked away remembered how blessed I truly am.


January 13, 2012

A Coffee Date: Expect the Unexpected

If we were to sit down for a coffee date this week, I'd probably have a lot to share with you. I'd remind you that I am predictable through and through. I don't like change, in fact, I don't do change at all. I like to know what is coming at all times. But that's not how life works.

life is messy,
unorganized at times,
and full of curveballs.

Someone one told me that if I was going to make it through life in one piece, I'd have to learn to expect the unexpected. I'd have to be more willing to go with the flow when the bumps of life hit, when prayers aren't answered, when things don't go as planned. I'd probably tell you that I'm still working on it; still learning to be okay with the bumps, big and little.

I'd start by telling you this week was full of unexpected things. I'd cringe as I told you that in all my years of owning a cell phone, I've never once broken, lost, or had to replace a phone. However, my fate changed this week when my iphone bit the dust! Ironically, it still worked so I was able to use it while I figured out a plan of action to replace it.

(it's really as bad as it looks!)

On Monday, I was excited to jump into a full week, but truth be told, I felt really off. I'd probably confess to you that I should of listened to my body and rested. But, I didn't. So by the time Wednesday rolled around, I was dragging my feverish self to the doctor.

I'd also share that I'm not good at waiting, but that I've learned so many wonderful lessons from the waiting room this past few years. I'm working on patience and reminding myself that in the end it all works out.

It turned out that I had been fighting a virus for a quite a few days, so the doctor recommended a few days of solid rest. So I gave myself two days off, and laid by the space heater catching up on tv shows and redbox movies.

And then I'd wait to the very end of our coffee date to spill the beans. I took a nap on Wednesday in the middle of the day, which is always a bad idea. In my head, I had told myself that I could sleep for an hour, but somehow I slept through that alarm clock and ended up taking a 3-4 hour long nap, which I paid for later by being up all night. However, when I woke up from my nap, I opened my email account to see the following subject line in my business account:

At first I thought this is surely a joke or a scam. But then I did a little googling, and it turned out to not be at joke at all! A producer from the Anderson Cooper show had found my blog and wanted to discuss one of my posts on the phone. I chatted with the sweetest girl and shared a little bit of my heart behind the blog post. They ended up telling me to be on stand-by because they were ideally looking for someone local in NY. I haven't heard back yet, so I'm assuming they found a local girl. However, I was beyond flatter that they would even think of reach out to me. I'm still somewhat new to blogging, but it reminded me that no matter how many people read our blog, that we all have stories to share that can encourage one another.


January 5, 2012

Do it Afraid

Every new year, I have a tradition to find an anthem song. This song is one that I want to reflect what I hope for the upcoming year. Sometime it has an important message that I know I will need to keep dear to my heart or other times it requires me to challenge myself.

This year I decided my word would be FEARLESS, so I found a song that reflected that. A few months ago, a friend introduced me to the music of Elizabeth South. She's actually local to where I live, has a beautiful voice, and I secretly hope to meet her someday! My friend introduced me to this song when I was in a state of doubt and trying to figure out the direction I wanted to take my business in. She could see I was drowning in doubt and fear, and reminded me I couldn't wait until the fear went away before I took a leap of faith. She pointed out that I would have to do it afraid, which happens to be the name of my anthem song for this year. Elizabeth wrote a beautiful song about not waiting until our fears go away before we try new things.

In the song, my favorite lyrics are:

I don't want to one who loses,

Even now it's never too late

I don't want to be the one who waits until I don't feel afraid

I don't want to be the one who choose every time to walk away.

The song reminds me that its okay to have fears, but that I can't let them be what holds me back. I find, especially in business, that fear can be crippling and prevent us from achieving all that we were meant to do on this earth. So I have a challenge for myself and for you; if you could dream up something you want to do in the next year, what is it? If fear is what's stopping you, then remind yourself at every small step forward that you can do it afraid!

The amazing blogger, Tara Mohr, explained how she treats fear and it resonated with my soul, so I wanted to pass it onto you:

 "I learned that fear ain’t going nowhere. I came to imagine fear as a traveling companion – the guy driving in the lane next to me – in my field of vision but not actually in my way, unless I let myself get distracted."

So here is to a year of doing things afraid, taking risks, and leaps of faith and growing my wings on the way down!

What are YOU going to do afraid this?


January 4, 2012

WIWW: New Year, New Hair

A few days before the new year, I decided that I wanted to start with a fresh look for the new year. And what better way to do that than to chop off a bunch of inches of my hair. Secretly, I want long hair, but it just doesn't seem to suit me. I had really, really long hard my freshman year of college and I cut 13+ inches off and never looked back.

So many of you comment on my cuteness, which I am beyond flattered by. I got a little silly in this photo shoot and did a cheesy cute photo.

And then cracked up about it. Secretly, I use that face when I really want something. Its my version of puppy eyes.

sweater: ann taylor loft
dress: local boutique
shoes: nine west
watch: ac moore


January 2, 2012

Humbled and Grateful


is one of the hardest lessons to learn.

I thought I would end 2011 with a bang. It was my first holiday season with an online shop, and I was so grateful for all my sweet customers! It had been a great year with so many wonderful experiences, new friendships, and great opportunities. Perhaps it was too much wishful thinking to go out with a bang. So instead, I'm ending the year extremely humbled and started 2012 full of gratitude.

In the beginning of December my heat started to act up and eventually went out. I spent a few days sitting by a space heater while we waited to get the heater fixed. And I was so relived when the repairman came out and fixed it so that I could stop freezing during the day. However, when I returned later that evening, my entire house had filled up with smoke. I remember thinking.....am I prepared to lose all my possessions? My head was screaming no, but my heart was whispering you were made for another world. And thankfully, I experienced some smoke damage to clothes and furinture, I did not lose my house. But it was a wake up call for sure.

My sweet friend Lauren once said....

"if it weren't for the pain, I wouldn't have this joy.

I am reminded that even in our deepest most painful experiences that joy often follows. At some point, we are able to look back and glimpse a tiny bit of hope and joy in the experience.

In December, I gave away 25 gifts to 25 strangers. While I didn't blog through the entire experience, I can say without a doubt it changed me. It reached so far down into my soul and reminded me just how deeply I am blessed. As 2012 is officially underway, I want to live this year differently. I want to live a life that says, "I have enough". And out of that abundance, I want to give, and give until it hurts.


January 1, 2012

Teach My Feet to Fly

This past Christmas, my big sister introduced me to a song called, River, which was sung by Lea Michelle from Glee (not originally, of course). While the song is sad and somber, there was one line of the lyrics that stuck with me.

"Teach my feet to fly...."

The word I choose to live by this year was fearless. I feel like fear can be so crippling and can hold anyone back from so much potential. Being fearless means taking a leap of faith and learning to fly on the way down. This year I want to be fearless in both my life and my business.

Sometimes I find it much easier to cling to the ground; where my feet are planted safely. It's why I'm afraid of heights and flying, because it means being okay with having my feet off the ground, and I'm not.

As I heard those lyrics sung, I could feel them sinking deep into my soul.

Teach my feet to fly....

I'm predictable by nature and I love routine, so I began to wonder what if would look like if I taught my feet to fly. It would mean getting back up after failures and trying again. It would mean that taking risks would require a fearless attitude. It would mean putting myself out there knowing that rejection could be right around the corner. 

Taylor Swift once said...

“FEARLESS is not the absence of fear. 
It’s not being completely unafraid. 
FEARLESS is having fears and  doubts. 
Lots of them. 
FEARLESS is living in spite of those things that scare you to death."

I have great plans, goals, and hopes for this upcoming year. Some of them will require me to take great leaps of faiths and trust. Others will require bravery and courage as I venture on new journeys. Some will even meaning getting on a plane and flying to new places. But I know in 365 days from now, I want to be able to look back and know that I took every shot I could, and didn't let fear steal great opportunities away from me. I want to know that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and challenged myself despite doubts.