The Importance of Behind the Scenes Moments

The Importance of Behind the Scenes Moments

I view Instagram and social media as an art form.  There is so much time and creativity put into it that often goes unnoticed.  And just like with any art, we want to get it perfect. Our feeds should be aesthetically beautiful, our captions should be perfectly palpable, and our writing should be eloquent and swift.  And, this work should be appreciated: it does not come without effort and it is desiring of art.

Yet, social media is different than any form of art before.  While you can paint a picture and put it up in a room, it is not thought that that picture encompasses you and your life.  When you post on social media though, your posts become you. They are your public representation world of who you are and what your life looks like.  People assume they know you when they see your profile. And to many, this assumption feels unfair, because it brings with it a new sense of responsibility.  We are responsible for showing reality in this art form, as much as beauty and perfection.

I think this responsibility is what is leading to the rise of behind the scenes posts right now.  Social media is a curation of moments, but when that’s taken to represent all of reality, it can be pretty harmful.  So, all of us, who spend our hours thinking about how we can create the best content possible now have something new to think about: how can we continue to make art we are proud of, while also showing reality for all that is.  Behind the Scenes posts do exactly this: they show the art process. They show what the day to day looks like, including the moments of no creativity and struggles. They bring reality into this curation of moments.

My challenge for you is to think about how can you bring reality into your social media presence?  How can you make your account a positive space, instead of a negative one?

I’ll be sharing a full blog post of behind the scenes moments from my latest Instagram later this week.

 

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The Cherry Blossom Festival & My Second Spring Style Essential

The Cherry Blossom Festival & My Second Spring Style Essential

My favorite season in D.C. is cherry blossom season.  It makes this city feel so magical, as there are pink and white flowers everywhere you look.  I was so sad last year that I missed this special time of year while doing my college program, but that just made me so excited to see it this year.  The wait was worth it, because everything fell into place this weekend– my mom was in town for a visit, the kite blossom festival was happening on Saturday (without us even knowing it), and the weather was absolutely perfect.  Everything about yesterday made me fall just a little bit more in love with this beautiful place. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day:

I’m also so excited for the second installment of my spring essentials with another classic piece, the denim jacket.  I love denim jackets and can almost always be found in the spring and fall to be wearing one. I love the look of denim jackets over summer dresses, as I think it can make a nicer dress look a bit more casual. I also love how you can make a denim jacket fit your personality– you can embroider the back, wear a plain classic jacket, or find one in colored denim, like my spring pink jacket.  

I bought my classic denim jacket from Ann Taylor Loft– it is $89.50 but is currently on sale for 50% off.  My pink denim jacket is also from Ann Taylor Loft, but is currently out of stock.  Land’s End has a great alternative available though for $53.97 right now.

Here’s how I’ve styled denim jackets:

 

Happy spring and I hope you enjoy seeing many more colorful outfits in the future!

 

Living My Truth: Being Vulnerable on Social Media

Living My Truth: Being Vulnerable on Social Media

“Love Yourself Instead of Loving the Idea of Other People Loving You”

I saw this quote come up on my Instagram feed and I immediately felt seen.  This quote encapsulated my struggle so well, so I shared it on my story. When a friend reached out then saying she related and started telling me her story, I felt I had to share my own story– I had to share why this quote meant so much to me and touched me so much.

So, I sat down on my bedroom floor (the spot with the best lighting in my apartment) and I recorded a video about losing myself sophomore year of college.  I had the perfect life on the surface– a big group of friends, leadership on campus, a great internship, and good grades– but, I was still so unhappy. I felt lost.  I was at a point of doubt with my religion and I was seriously questioning if God was real and if He was, did it even matter? I made a lot of decisions because of groupthink, rather than using my own judgment.  I was always with people and yet, I had never felt so alone in my life. I thought I had to love myself because others loved me, but I wasn’t happy with myself. I finished recording (after a few takes) and hit post.

Immediately after uploading, panic hit.  Had I shared too much? Would the people who knew me during that time period judge me and unfollow me?  Did people even want to hear about my struggles with faith?

I’ve shared my stories in the past, but this was scarier to me than usual and for a while, I couldn’t understand why.  Then, it hit me. I was sharing this story simply to share and for no other reason.

When I speak about anxiety, I’m speaking to share, but also because I want to be a resource to anyone who is struggling.  When I talk about social media comparison culture, it’s because I want to be part of changing this culture. In those moments, I am working for a higher purpose.

When I posted about feeling lost, confused, and unhappy, I simply shared because I wanted to be real.  I wanted to take off the mask for a moment and say my honest truth without trying to put a spin on it. And telling the truth, for no reason than wanting to show reality, is really scary.  It leaves you at your most vulnerable, but those are the moments that matter.

I don’t think we tell the truth enough.  I don’t think we’re real enough, with ourselves or others, enough.  We always have an agenda or are trying to put a spin on things. Right now, I’m conquering my fears by just telling my truth.  No spins, no masks, just me.

February Goal Check-In

February Goal Check-In

Can you believe it?  We are two months into the year already and it just feels like 2019 is flying by.  With the year rolling and the semester halfway done already, I feel this is a good time to do a goals check-in and set some goals for the rest of the semester.

Goal Check-In:

Goal #1: Plan Less: This was my biggest goal for the year and the goal I’ve seen the most progress on.  I’ve said goodbye to my Google Calendar, where I would plan out every single minute of my day.  I mean it– I would create time periods for sleep. Productivity was the name of my game, but I just ended out burnt out and unhappy.  With a less structured schedule, I’ve made time in my life for the moments you don’t always predict– the meetings that run over, the random run-ins and catch-ups with friends, and time to relax and breathe.  I’ve still got a LOOOONG way to go on this goal, as I usually can still be found making plans weeks in advance and still have a pretty stuffed calendar, but I’m getting there.

Goal #2: Spend More Time with Friends: Whenever I get busy, I tend to isolate myself and only spend time with the people who directly relate to whatever I’m busy with, whether that’s work, extracurriculars, or class.  Whenever I do that, I create a stress bubble for myself, as I’m only around people who share my stresses and struggles. I’ve been trying to make time for all my friends this semester and I’ve been doing pretty well on this.  I’ve been getting coffees and dinners with friends I wouldn’t otherwise see and Facetiming my long distance friends.

Goal #3: Get to the Gym: This is the goal I have been so sporadic about.  There are some weeks where I get myself to the gym daily with excitement about the next episode of my podcast.  And then, there are weeks when I can’t even fathom where I’d get the forty-five minutes a day to spend at the gym.  I’d day I’d score like a 4/10 on this goal so far.

Where do I go from here?  Well, I consider the progress I’ve made so far and use that to help me form new goals for the rest of the semester.  Here’s what I have so far:

  1. Continue to try to plan less and be more spontaneous.  Try to go into a weekend with nothing on the calendar and just make it up as I go.
  2. Make time for myself.  I often feel like on the weekends, I’m exhausted from everything and just need some time to decompress with myself.  I want to start making time a few times a week for me to do this so it doesn’t pile up.
  3. Actually get to the gym consistently.  I really want to get into the habit of going daily or every other day and so, this is a goal I want to continue working on.
Do What Scares You: Learning to Be Alone

Do What Scares You: Learning to Be Alone

People always say you should do what scares you in order to grow.  That’s an intimidating concept at its core and one I have ran away from for a long time.  What scares me? Being alone.

I’m not scared of being alone in the romantic comedy sense, but rather, for the majority of my life, I was scared to actually do anything alone.  My freshman year, I skipped a lot of meals in the dining hall because I was too scared to eat alone. Why? I was so scared that everyone who was there with their friends would judge me for being by myself.  In my head, I could hear laughter about how I had no friends. In reality, no one even batted an eye, but my inner monologue and fear controlled me.

When I went to Disney, I felt it was time to change: I only had five months to take in this place and if I only did things when others were around, I knew I would leave with regrets.  So, I did park days by myself. I booked meals for one. I explored the resorts when I wanted to. I also spent time with my friends and enjoyed their company, but I didn’t let my fear of being judged stop me from doing things alone too.  It was about balance: I could be alone or with people.

So, I want to share with you all my favorite ‘alone’ activities, in case you’re new to spending time with yourself like I was.

 

  • Coffee Shop.  I’m convinced there is some hidden power in coffee shops (and I’m not talking about caffeine) because when I’m in them, I find it completely comfortable to be alone.  I love working in coffee shops and so, I often bring my laptop to write an essay and do some readings, but I’ve also found I love coffee shops for relaxing alone time: I love just bringing a book and sitting and reading in a coffee shop.  It’s a space where so many other people are by themselves that this whole idea of being judged for being alone goes away.

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  • Museums. The first place I ever went by myself was the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC.  Going to museums alone is one of my favorite activities, because you get to explore at your own time and pace and be taken away by what strikes you.  I spent a good half hour just staring up at the ceiling at the Renwick and it was amazing– never before would I have been able to spend that type of time like that.

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  • Shopping.  This one intimidated me.  I had always gone shopping with either my mom, my sister, or my friends, but never alone.  However, when I shop alone, I find I’m willing to take more risks in what I try on because I’m not worried about anyone commenting on how awful something looks on me.  So, I try on things that look horrible but sometimes, I find a surprising good find that I would have completely missed out on otherwise.

 

I still hate eating alone at a sit-down restaurant and I sometimes hear that inner voice telling me everyone is judging me, but I’ve also found a solace in being alone and learning to enjoy my own company.

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One of my favorite photos from Disney that I took on what started out as a solo park day (I ran into friends who I then spent time with): Ariel in the Festival of Fantasy Parade

 

Some Changes to the Blog + My First Style Post

Some Changes to the Blog + My First Style Post

Recently, I’ve decided to change some things with the blog.  First, the tagline has changed from “The Self-Care Diaries” to “Self-care, Style, and Sass.”  I decided to make this change to the blog because I felt like I was too boxed in to be real. I promised in my very first post that this blog would be somewhere that I would honestly share my life completely and authentically.  When I just focused on self-care though, I wasn’t able to do that. I wasn’t able to share my passions and my interests and at times, I felt fake. I wasn’t sharing who I was completely and so, I decided to incorporate sass and style into the blog.  I am a sassy person– I’m well known by friends for my sassy little comments and I want you all to get to know that side of me outside of just my “real talks” on Instagram. I have always loved fashion and for a long time, I dreamed of going into the fashion industry somehow, whether that was launching my own fashion line or being a fashion journalist.  I want to bring that love of fashion and style forward into the blog. So I am very excited to give you my first style post of five items I’m in love with this week:

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  • The Marled Tie Back Sweater from Loft  This sweater is currently on sale for $35 and I am so in love with it.  I love everything that involves bowes and I especially love this pretty light pink color.  I think the bow and this shade of pink make this sweater have a really feminine sweet vibe to it that makes it the perfect sweater for your Galentine’s Day or a chill night out.

 

 

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  • Satin Wrap Blouse from Anthropologie My favorite pieces are ones that combine comfort with style and this shirt does exactly that.  I love wrap tops: I find them so flattering and simple, while being very comfortable and easy to wear.  The satin gives this shirt a level of elegance to it that I love and if you can’t tell, pink is my favorite color.

 

 

 

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  • Eyelet Skirt from Vineyard Vines I love this skirt because it is an amazing transition season skirt and can work for multiple occasions.  You can put it with a button down and tights for a winter business casual look, but you can wear it with sandals and a t-shirt and it is a perfect spring/summer casual look.  Items like this are the ones worth it, in my opinion, because you get so much use out of them.

 

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  • Tier-Sleeve Pullover Sweater in Coziest Yarn from Madewell  I am obsessed with the tiered sleeve look right now and am so happy it is in style.  I also think burnt orange is a great color for winter and you can bring it out of your closet again for fall, making it another item that has a lot of potential to actually see use.

 

 

 

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  • Trouvé Reese Crackle Ring Crossbody Bag from Nordstrom I honestly believe ring handles are the best thing to happen to fashion.  I got a ring handle bag on sale from Anthropologie that is no longer available and I am so in love with it that I am now looking for other ring handle bags.  I love the shimmery metallic look from this one and rose gold is my signature color.
My take on Content Creators

My take on Content Creators

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about social media terms, specifically content creator.  I consider myself a content creator, not an influencer. To me, social media is this amazing platform to make and show art.  Some people raise an eyebrow at this: how is posting some photos of yourself (that mainly other people took) considered art?

I think this objection is fair to raise and definitely why people still laugh a bit at the term content creator.  There’s so much behind the scenes though that people don’t realize in terms of Instagram, blogs, and Youtube. For example, every Instagram photo is often meticulously planned out– the subject of the photo may not have taken it themselves, but you can trust that they definitely envisioned.  Everything post-production is that person. Lightroom definitely makes this editing process easier, but I have spent hours so far playing around with my presets trying to get them just right. Then, there’s the captioning– for me, I see my captions as an opportunity to write a mini-blog post and share my message with everyone who might not read the blog.  It’s my way to get my message to them. Then, for youtubers and bloggers, there’s the putting together of the main product: the video and blog post. Both of those take a long time. I currently have multiple blog posts in the works that are going on their third or fourth rewrite: it’s not a fast process. I’m working to get everything just right in how I present my ideas and while it’s awesome to work for myself, it’s also difficult as I have to enforce deadlines on myself.

Despite that defense of Instagram and other Internet platforms as content creation, I still understand the objection and I often feel like I’m not really creating enough.  I often feel like I could be sharing more with the world, which is what this post is really all about. I love photography and many people may think my camera is only in hand for someone to take some blog photos, it’s really in hand so I can take photos of everything around me.  Today, I want to start sharing some of those photos. I’m going to try to share more of my photography on my blog and occasionally, Instagram too. To me, this goes a deeper level of content creation and gives me that satisfaction of having a creative outlet. Here are some of my favorite photos from this weekend: