It’s Coming Together (I’ll Mind the Time)

This is a combination of phrases taken from both my pastor (he’d argue it was actually from the Lord but I don’t have time to unpack that here) and a former yoga teacher. The first part is an encouragement, a confirmation that the work you’ve been doing, on whatever you’ve been doing it, has not been wasted. You’re on the right track. It’s coming together.

The second is a relief. My yoga teacher used to say it as we lay in savasana — a way of announcing that there was nothing for us to do in that moment but the work of that moment, which was to be. Just be. “I’ll mind the time” means that you don’t have to. Don’t worry about how long you’re here, just continue to be here.

For anyone working to build something, to finish a degree, write a thesis, start a company, assemble Ikea furniture, I hope these phrases will minister to you as they have to me. It’s coming together: you’re doing great, you’re on the right track. And someone bigger than you, the Universe, God in whatever form that takes, the Oneness of all things, will mind the time.

NYE Inspo: Rock 'n' Roll

Happyyyyyy Fashion Fridayyyy!

For my second week of NYE Inspiration I wanted to add some *edge*. This one admittedly feels a little #BadGalSandy from Grease but I’m not super mad about it. It's for the anyone who’s not into glitz but still wants glam (and maybe also to intimidate everyone in the room a little bit) — I gotchu! Very cool, very I-tried-but-not-really-but-kind-of. All black everything minus the silver lamé tank, and of course, a badass leather jacket to slay. Enjoy!

Femi in black leather jacket, black leggings, black strappy heels, silver tank.
Femi in black leather jacket, black leggings, black strappy heels, silver tank.
Femi in black leather jacket, black leggings, black strappy heels, silver tank.
Femi in black leather jacket, black leggings, black strappy heels, silver tank.
Femi in black leather jacket, black leggings, black strappy heels, silver tank.

Tank: Forever 21 | Leggings: American Apparel (#RIP) | Jacket: All Saints | Choker: LuLus.com | Lipstick: MAC - Ruby Woo

Dating.

The other day I was talking with my friends on a road trip about what a unique experience it feels like to be dating as an adult. Not a just-out-of-college, still-going-out-both-nights-of-the-week, can-function-with-6-hours-of-sleep  kind of adult. I mean an in-bed-by-9, Netflix-is-part-of-my-family, why-is-the-music-so-loud-in-Urban-Outfitters kind of adult. #Old. It feels to me like most pairings happened as a natural result of bourgeoning friend groups or scaling social framework as we grew up, like going off to college, joining a new church, or doing academic sports.

But in this phase, when life feels pretty much set as far as social circles go, it’s very curious to endeavor intentionally reaching beyond your walls to connect with someone. And not make just any connection, but the kind you hope to build a life and a family on one day. It’s honestly insane.

In some ways it’s easier now — hopefully by this point you have a pretty good idea of who you are, what you want, and what you’re looking for. There’s no longer a need for half-decades long relationships as we both navigate pubescence and early adulthood, trying to figure out wtf is going on.

But with that clear understanding comes the often awkward practice of going on one or two dates with someone only to never see them again, either by your choice, theirs, or both. Like at one time this person was a candidate for the potentiality of a serious relationship — one of the most important relationships you’ll form in your lifetime, mind you — and in the span of an hour (or way, way less) they disappear back into The Abyss. Isn’t that crazy??? But I mean, I guess it’s also the way it has to work. Like who has the time or desire to keep in touch with every person they went on one date with? It ain’t me, I’ll tell you that right now.

I always wonder if it gets easier. As we talked in the car, one of my friends likened dating to interviewing, which, cold spectre of capitalism aside, I see her point. She made the case that no one really likes interviewing, even when you’re good at it and understand how to navigate that sphere. And no matter how many interviews you go on, not getting the job is never going to feel like nothing.

I don’t know man, sometimes dating just feels like the weirdest social practice. But I mean if you want a relationship for your life, what else are you gonna do? No really, if you have an idea, tell me, I know a lot of people very interested in a different route.

Liveliness

First of all, how is everyone’s December going? Because mines been busy as ALL HELL #sweating. But as I've felt in constant motion, I’ve been thinking about how the world is also constant motion — when things are still for too long they die. There is life in movement as movement brings life, and energy is never destroyed, only repurposed. 

December’s often the nuttiest month of the year, between, parties, family visiting, seeing old friends, cuffing season (a thing I say but am only marginally sure of the meaning), there is a LOT to get swept up in.

But December’s also (IMO) the liveliest month. Lights, festivities, anticipation, newness on the horizon...

As we dive deeper into into the holiday season, as we stress over Secret Santa gifts and awkward family gatherings, what if we tried also remembering that all of this movement, this hustle and bustle, is a sign of a very vibrant and full life? What if we considered the richness of our places in it?

Balances out the scales a little bit, eh? I thought it might. Namaste y’all, and again, happy December!

NYE Inspo: '70s Glam Girl

Happy December everybody!! Kicking it off with my first New Year's Eve outfit inspiration post — All. Sequined. Everything. 

I wanted to funkify (it's a word look it up) the traditional sequin #lewk so I paired this rose gold dress I ordered online with the loves of my life: *navy velvet ankle boots from Steve Madden *swoon*. 

And Pro Tip: since the heel is thicker, legend has it your feet will hate you less the next day! Wins all around y'all.

What are your favorite ways to change up standard holiday looks? Literally always looking for ideas! Happy Fashion Friday!

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Dress: Moda Mia Boutique | Boots: Steve Madden

*Update: If you want to see more of the boots up close (and honestly why wouldn't you?) you can find them herehere, and here. Happy lusting! :) 

Are You Ready For It?

Dear God I'm hoping Taylor Swift doesn’t try to sue me for that title. I got nothing girl, you can come check my pockets yourself!

But the reason for the title is that I think we spend a lot of time wishing for things — wishing for more professional success, wishing for more money, wishing for more power and influence, wishing for more time to be productive. But are we ready for those things when they come? Are we prepared for the responsibility of carrying them? Influence, power, money, accolades and affirmation are weighty. When people start to see you, I mean really see you, and when they not only observe the gifts you have but also start paying for them, it’s a vulnerable moment. Not only is the real you visible, but the good things they're saying about you are true. You are intelligent, you are a great writer, you are musically talented, you are a good cook. Are we ready for good things? 

It’s terrifying to step into shoes you’ve felt called to fill. They may be yours, but they’re also new; you might need to break them in (emphasis on the word break.) You might need to build new neural pathway that reminds yourself that you're capable, you might need to lose integral, closely-held beliefs about yourself. We’re asking for all these great things but are our legs strong enough to hold us when we get them? Can our shoulders carry the weight? 

Good news is, if you’re not ready now, that’s okay! It, like most things, is a practice; every day you try, and every day you can hold a little more. When people say positive things about you, believe them. That's the weight lifting, that's building the muscle. 

It’s uncomfortable, I know. I can attest firsthand to how hard it is to receive a compliment is without either deflecting by immediately returning it, or swatting it away by undermining it. Consider an exchange like the following: 

“I love your sweater!” 
“Omg thanks it’s so old I can't believe I'm even wearing it I basically dug it out of the trash 10 years ago and never washed it, I think a homeless person owned it once it I'm sure it makes me look fat the color is awful.” 

*eye roll* Like, don’t do that, it's unnecessary. Stand your ground, receive the good, and let it bless you. So when more comes, you can hold it.

Trusting the Journey

Not everyone you choose to be in your life is meant to walk this journey with you. I think of some of the people that have come and gone from my life (*ahem* some of the men that have come and gone from my life)... And I think often we reason that because it's our journey we get to pick and choose who stays and who goes — if I see a future with you (friendships included), you stay; if I lose interest in continuing a relationship, you go.

But sometimes it's not like that.

People will leave your journey of their own accord. Sometimes the journey winds in a way that loses others. In either case, people depart whom you did not elect to go, and you have to grieve the loss of not only what was but also what you thought might have been. Maybe in time the grieving shifts from a severe injury to a slight ache — something that feels more like an honoring of the pain cause by their exit while also still acknowledging the rightfulness of it — but regardless something is felt.  

Not everyone you choose is meant to walk this journey with you, but I am learning — everyday with often little tangible evidence — to trust the journey. Trust who it brings and who it removes. And as cycles of grieving arise, be they sharp pains or reverential aches, it helps to reframe them as evidence of healing, growth, life, and shift.

Holiday Party Inspo: Liquid Gold

Happy Fashion Friday everyone! It's the last Friday in November which meanssss it's also the last Fashion Friday for holiday party outfit ideas! #SadDay. Although who knows, I had so much fun with this theme I very well may take it into December. Maybe with a titch more sparkle to make it New Year's Eve party outfit ideas — *lightbulb* actually, yup, that's 100% happening. OKAY EVERYONE GET STOKED because the next five Fashion Fridays will be dedicated to putting outfits together for NYE!! Oooooo so excited! In the meantime, enjoy this last little holiday party number with my favoriteeee gold velvet skirt from Topshop. You know the one. 

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Sweater: My Mother | Skirt: Topshop | Shoes: DSW

We Need to Talk About Kevin Pearson. (Also Happy Thanksgiving?)

Okay, I know it’s Thanksgiving but we need to talk about Kevin Pearson. And honestly, what better day to focus on someone else’s family rather than yours for a few minutes? Exactly. Let’s dive in:

Okay so for those of you who don’t know, Kevin Pearson is a character from the hit — and I mean HIT — television show This Is Us on NBC. Before you get all “Why are we analyzing a character from a TV show, it’s just TV”, let me set you straight on something: it’s not. Television programs have the capacity to shape us in largely the same way fictional books and movies do. We see ourselves and our lives reflected in the characters and their stories — or we really don’t — and it affects how we see the world, consciously or subconsciously. That is a subject for another blog, but for now we need to treat the medium of television with respect and proceed with this character study as we would for any other medium of fiction. Oh also, spoiler alert: if you haven't watched last week’s (11/14) episode of This Is Us, I highly suggest you go watch it now and come back when you’ve stopped crying and gathered yourself off the floor.

Alright, Kevinnnnn Pearson. This guy has been a tricky one. When we’re first introduced to him, it’s as a typical LA Playboy — he’s tall, fit AF, bone structure for days, and he plays an actor starring in a bullshit sitcom but who's positive he can take on “more serious roles” (it also kinda feels like the show wants us to believe that’s probably untrue). Kevin struggles to find his groove; he comes off as vapid, self-centered, and kind of (very) annoying.

But slowly, we’ve begun to see his unraveling. It felt for a time like his life was moving forward: he moved to New York to be in an off broadway play that actually turned out to be decent, he reconnected with his high school sweetheart/ex-wife, he was starring in a movie directed by the Ron Howard.... And then during a stunt on set, an old knee injury flares up and the life he’s carefully crafted, his house of cards, comes crashing down. And as the story usually goes with all of us when our worlds collapse, in the wreckage he's forced to deal with emotions he's kept buried about painful events in his past, namely his dashed dreams of playing professional football, and the devastating loss of his father. 

He's been struggling for a little bit now but I'd say this last episode is where things really hit fever pitch. He was invited to his old high school to be honored for, I dunno, being cool or something, and it set off a series of triggers that left him drunk, alone, and begrudgingly recounting the events of his life to himself in the middle of the football field. Homie is spiraling if I ever saw it, and throughout the episode we got to see a little more into his story. 

It feels like Kevin’s whole life has been about two things: crafting the perfect image and being the sibling his parents "never had to worry about". When he’s young, we see him get easily frustrated with his brother Randall’s neuroticism and only slightly less than obvious coddling of Randall by his parents, especially his mother, Rebecca. Randall isn’t cool, and Kevin lets him know like every day. His dad is cool — at least it appears Kevin initially thinks of him that way. But as he grows, his dad starts to look less like Superman and more like a regular man, and I think Kevin distances himself because of it. In high school, we see Kevin as the starting QB on the football team, the epitome of popularity, and well on his way to a scholarship at a Division 1 school. (To really cement the image, I think it's worthy to note he's also at this point dating his elementary school sweetheart Sophie, who is a cheerleader and honestly most likely captain). As I mentioned, in adulthood he’s the LA playboy — he's got money, lives in a penthouse, sleeps with beautiful women, everything on the outside is perfectly coifed and has been for years. We’ve seen glimpses that he’s more than he lets on in sweet moments with his sister, or the fact that he really seems to deeply love Sophie and have done so since he was seven, (ALSO he's Jack Pearson’s son so there had to be something there), but until he is completely broken, we can't really see what he's about. #classic #message

The running theme I think with Kevin is his absolute incapacity to handle it when any part of his image is threatened. One night we see him walk in on his father, who suffers from alcoholism, on his knees reciting the Serenity Prayer, and the mere sight of his dad in such a posture of humility and surrender seemed to conjure extreme disgust and disdain in Kevin. It doesn’t fit his "cool" image to have a father with a weakness, and so he rejects it (and I have a strong suspicion with it, his father, which then leads to tremendous guilt when he passes, but I'm getting ahead of myself). As hard as last week's episode was to watch, I found it so heartbreakingly human and relatable. To work so hard at perfecting your outsides, thinking that if you get the right job, if you make a certain amount of money, if you can befriend the popular kids, if you can live in the right neighborhood, if you can wear the right clothes, if you can marry the right person, you will be validated. You will be good enough. And not only that, but also to have the compulsion to rebuff anything/one in your outside world that does not fit your idealized vision. Kevin suffers from the same malady we all do: the inability to accept himself and What Is. Even as he recounts the blessings he's received in his life, he does so with contempt, as though he is fundamentally flawed and thus unworthy of good things. And he's been running from those feelings for what must be decades — recently opting to numb out with painkillers and alcohol — absolutely unwilling to process his complicated relationship with his dad and fully grieve the loss. 

It finally catches up to him when he has a one night stand and loses his father's necklace (I'm literally still crying about that scene, I can't get over it). At last he reaches rock bottom and gains the gumption to reach out to his brother and admit he's not holding it all together, he's not the sibling no one has to worry about. But at this turning point, when healing can begin because he's finally ready to allow himself to be seen, he's silenced by tragic news from his younger sister. In that moment you feel the weight of the heartbreak of the entire episode. Kevin doesn't get to collapse, he doesn't get to be held, and that has been the story his whole life. He is first but has always also seemed to come second, as taking care of, if not setting the example for, his younger brother and sister felt like it assumed priority over his needs.

It was hard to watch, I won't lie to you. From the heartbreak of what it looks like when the image you've built for your life collapses, to the heartbreak of what it looks like to run from your grief, to the heartbreak of not having space to grieve when you're finally ready, like this shit was a tra-ge-dy. And though it did not end in a neatly wrapped little bow for Kevin Pearson, I profoundly appreciate the show's willingness to dive deeper into a character that could have easily been written off as "The Hot One". It feels like there's a lot more to uncover, not just for Kevin but for this whole family. I'm ready for it. 

WATCH THIS IS US Y'ALL I'M TELLING YOU THE SHIT'S GOOD.

Also shoutout to Justin Hartley for his performance in that episode, it was literally so wild.

This Is Us, Tuesdays 9/8c (At this point it felt like I might as well go for the full plug)

Monday Inspiration: Pick Up Your Mat and Walk

Have you ever been lovingly told to get off your ass? I know we have a hard time conceptualizing love, so a loving version of a phrase so often used to scold might be hard to grasp. But “pick up your mat and walk” feels like that kind of command to me. For context, this is a directive from a story in the Bible where Jesus, speaking to a man who for whatever reason lacked the use of his legs, told him to pick up the mat he was lying on and walk. Spoiler alert: the guy walks and it’s a miracle and everybody cheers and high-fives. Countless sermons have been given on this story and how Jesus telling a man with disabilities to just get up and walk might have been a borderline douche move, but I’m not super wanting to dive into all that. For today I want us to think about that phrase with a broader scope. Not just physically walking, but how it calls us forward into something maybe we didn't think we had the capacity to do.

I mean, “pick up your mat and walk” feels a little demanding right? Like I said at the beginning, it’s kind of a loving “get off your ass”. That’s why everyone thought Jesus was being a jerk, like how dare you ask this man to walk who is clearly incapable and has been for literal years. But the command is rooted in belief, and not only that but belief without pity. It is encouragement from the front: “Come with me. Carry yourself because I know that you can”. And there’s responsibility in that command, all of a sudden you’re having to account for yourself, for your weight — the thought of which can feel scary when maybe for years, decades, your whole life, you built your identity around being Unable. Maybe your parents, friends, teachers, the bank, all told you that you can’t and you believed them. But you can, that’s the whole point. You can start a business, you can write a book, you can play an instrument, you can try to sing. There will be new responsibility and shifting weight in these new roles, but you can hold it. Pick up your mat and walk.

Holiday Party Outfit Inspo: Classic Edition

MORE. VELVET. 

This week we keep the Holiday Party Outfit train going with — you guessed it — more velvet shit from Target. I grabbed this emerald crop top and paired it with a gold headband, bright red lips, and *pearl earrings*, because if there's ever a time to pretend you're a rich white woman, it's the holidays. Just ask Joanne the Scammer. 

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Shirt: Target | Pants: Urban Outfitters | Headband: Target | Lipstick: MAC

Work That Heals

I’ve been mulling over the idea that our work, whatever it is that each of us specifically has felt called to, will be the thing that heals us. 

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about being "High Maintenance", and shared a story that, when it happened, made me feel low, small, shamed. But as I brought it back up to write about it, I noticed a shift. In sharing it, I was also able to reclaim it. I could explore the parts that hurt and bring salve to them. I could reprocess the memory and store it in a way that no longer caused injury — and that was largely possible because I was able to write it out and work it through here, through the process of writing.

I’ve not just noticed it in myself, but in the people around me as well. My friend Kara has invested in gardening and developed a lovely flower business (#SomethingWildFloral #shamelessfriendplug) and she is constantly learning life truths from the little and less little plants she cares for. My friend Nathalie understands food and complementing flavors, and as she works to bring people together around a table, she also learns about herself and how things come together in larger forms. This is what work is supposed to be, and this is what, in my mind, defines success. Is your work healing? Does it bless you and other people? Well then that’s it, that’s all there is to do. 

Find work that heals you and let it be a positive feedback cycle so that as you put beauty into the world, you also receive it.