Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Life is Life, Fight for It.

Without a doubt, 2011 has been the most tumultuous year of my life. I remember last year, writing my resolutions or my new years post, and having so much hope and faith for a positive year.

Things don't always turn out the way you hope though - the lows of this year were incredibly low, particularly with the death of Poppy, which has left a hole in my heart that hurts me every single day.

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While I could sit and focus on the negative - which is a ridiculously easy thing to do no matter what life throws your way - I've learned so much this year, that I feel is what I should be focusing on, rather than complain and bring in the new year on a negative note.

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Without the bad times, we'd never know how truly beautiful the good times are; without the bad friends, we'd never realize how blessed we are with the ones who are there for us when we need someone - and the positives are what I want to focus on for 2012.

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Things I've learned in 2011 (that I want to apply to 2012):

1. Your own needs are important.

I'm a people pleaser, and I'm constantly putting the needs of others ahead of my own. This year, I learned that it's okay to talk about my feelings, or the things that are going on in my life - it's not a burden, it's a reciprocal friendship. If you need sleep, turn off your phone - other people's problems can wait until the morning; if you need a shoulder to cry on, call up a friend - they'll be there for you.

When I ended my two year relationship last January, I realized how long I'd been pushing myself off - how long I'd let someone else become more important than myself, and that I pushed aside all the bad feelings or things that weren't right in order to make him happy. In 2012, I promise to myself that I will be better about finding a balance between my needs and the needs of others.

Don't let people walk all over you - know your worth, and know that you deserve more than to push aside your emotions, feelings, needs for anyone else.

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2. Don't let the past define you.

We all make mistakes - stop beating the shit out of yourself for those mistakes. Learn and grow from them, and don't let them happen again. You are NOT the one mistake that you made, and don't ever let yourself believe that.

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3. Stop living life with hatred in your heart.

Grudges, bitchiness, judging - it all eats away at you. How can you be surrounded by people who will bring you up, if all you have is negativity surrounding you?

4. Quit using "I'm fine" as an escape mechanism.

It's okay to not be okay. This is something that I'm still working through. As a perfectionist, I like everything to be wrapped up with a nice little bow, but that's not life. Sometimes we lose control, sometimes we hurt, sometimes we cry and are ugly and broken. It's in those times that we need to be honest with ourselves and with others. I can't tell you the support I felt from my friends during all the hard times I went through - it was freeing to not be in total control and trying to micromanage things.

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5. Don't try to convince yourself.

If something feels wrong, trust your instinct. Don't try to convince yourself that something is okay when it isn't - with relationships or "potential" relationships, don't pretend that you're okay with things if you're not. If you want a relationship, don't act like you're okay with a friends with benefits/casual sex kind of thing. If you just want to be friends, don't worry about hurting anyone's feelings.
If you lie to yourself, you're only hurting yourself. It's as simple as that.

6. Learning who your true friends are is very bittersweet.

I cannot tell you the number of times that I was there for people, listening to every single problem (white girl problems or real problems), and offering advice to them - investing my whole heart into their situation. I always thought those same people would be there for me no matter what - friendship should be reciprocal, right? Wrong. It's not that they're bad people, they're just too focused on their own shit to care about yours with the same energy you gave them. Learn from that - take time for yourself and give 100% of your energy to the people who really matter.
Just because you're a good friend to someone, doesn't mean it will be reciprocated when you need it.

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7. Find happiness within yourself.

If you look to others for your own happiness, you'll never find it. Find things that you love to do alone, that bring you joy - if you love yoga, do a yoga class; if photography is your passion, go out on the weekends by yourself and pursue it. Be happy, be content, and find your own happiness - when you're happy with yourself, you'll draw others to you and they can share that happiness with you.

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8. Success is between you and you only.

Life does not need to be a competition. Set goals for yourself, and be your own competition - stop being jealous of others and their success. Instead, find what you have that others could want from you, try to make yourself a better person, and stop worrying that someone else might be better than you.

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9. Enjoy the little things in life.

My Poppy was a pro at this - he loved life so much, every single second of it. He always told me that when you look back on the little things, sometimes you realize that they were more significant than you really thought.
This year - with all the shit that happened - has also had some of the most tremendous times of my life. Nights out with friends that were spontaneous ended up being some of the most fun I've had this year.
A little visit to the hospital after babysitting one afternoon, where I sat on the end of Poppy's hospital bed and he gave me advice about teaching, ended up being the last conversation we ever had. Treasure these things, focus on them when things seem to start spiraling out of control. These are the things that matter.

I love this picture, because even though no one is paying attention to the camera, he looks so happy.
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10. Tell people that matter to you that you love them.

I am so, so grateful for my friends and family. I tell them whenever I can how much they mean to me, how much fun I have with them, and how grateful I am to them for carrying me through this year. Don't take the time you have with people for granted.

I'm so, so lucky - these are just a few of the people I have in my life (because I'm already going way too picture crazy).
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Never forget - you are beautiful, special, worthwhile. You have people who love you, and things going for you. Don't let anyone hold you back or drag you down - you're in charge of your own happiness!

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Love you all so very much - you're all such lovely, special people to me. Can't wait to catch up on your posts now that I have some time without work/lesson planning! <3

Currently listening to: I Give You Bass - Fukkk Offf

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fall Street Style.

I'm still alive (mostly).

It is already December, and I still feel like I'm treading water just to get by. My weekdays are spent lesson planning, grading, teaching, correcting, listening, and then repeating the cycle until I can finally feel like I totally get ahead.

Then my weekends (and some of my week nights) have been spent in the city, crashing with different friends (I feel like I should be paying one of my friends rent - I'm sleeping at his apartment constantly, and his roommates are shocked when they don't see me on a weekend), going from lounge to lounge/bar to bar, and spending (too much) of my big girl paycheck on very important things (like Gucci heels and too many pairs of J Brand skinny jeans - never on a bar tab, I've still - kind of - got it).

One thing I love about being in the city on a regular basis is the constant source of fashion inspiration that you see here. It doesn't matter if people are running out for coffee, doing the walk of shame home, or are on their way to a gorgeous night out - everyone looks fabulous.

Those of you have been followers for a while know that I have a serious, serious love of street style - I think it shows a person's true fashion sense way more than if they had a stylist picking everything out for them.

Luckily I have friends who love to go out for food at different places, so there is plenty of opportunities to people watch and get crazy fashion inspiration - from people who are over the top and wear things I would never think to pull together, to the ones who make monochromatic looks appear completely polished and gorgeous - I'm constantly loving all things street style.

These are a few of my favorite looks from different fashion blogs - and one thing I've learned (and luckily am able to actually pull off!) is that skinny jeans + an oversized anything on top (cardigan, shirt, sweater, sweatshirt) + boots/heels is a foolproof fashion choice (and adding a pop of color with a fun bag or jewelry is an added bonus!).

There are some great deals with http://www.frugaldad.com/Meijer">coupons for sunglasses at Meijer with most wardrobes.

The unconventional street style (read: fashion with a little more balls).
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Susan Cernek - never would I think to pair all these gorgeous autumn tones together!
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Oversized button downs with skinny jeans/pants is so simple, but so perfect (as perfectly evidenced by the fact that it's a staple of the Olsen's, my favorite fashion icons).
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Olivia Palermo is always perfection.
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Blazers are always the perfect addition to any outfit.
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Motorcycle jackets are another serious win, that can be dressed up or down.
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Rock fall essentials (maxi skirts, sweaters, etc) with your own spin on the style.
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Fall tones, boots, jacket = perfect.
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If loving Nick Wooster is wrong, I don't ever, ever, ever want to be right. The man is perfection.
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Once I'm on winter break, I'll be posting more regularly - things these next few weeks are going to be incredibly stressful and busy with work, so I can't promise to be an A+ blogger, but I do promise to get back on track when things calm down a little! I miss and love you all so very much (for real!). Keep me updated on your lives <3

Currently listening to: Heavy Hittah - Skream