inspiration

My First Junior League Charm

This last Wednesday, my volunteer organization, Junior League of Riverside (JLR), had our Annual Meeting. This is my first with the organization, I have been with them for a few months and I have loved every minute of it so far. I have been able to be myself, giving unsolicited advice and ideas, getting involved in newsletters and social media, being a leader in an appropriate way, and having a Book Club (!!!!!).

Now, I have been a part of many organized things, such as sports teams, rec groups, Little League, and others. However, I have never been a part of a group where the members openly welcomed and accepted me. I have always had one or two friends in the group with other organized activities, but with JLR, I feel like I am valued and truly a part of something great.

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So, this last week, I attended the Annual Meeting. I knew that they were collecting orders and money for the JLR charm (for a necklace or bracelet) at the same time. Because of my current financial situation, the charm was outside of my reach and I was actually sad about that. I had been a little envious of the ladies who would show up to meetings wearing their charms – I wanted one. I wanted to be able to wear my charm with pride as well. But, I understood why I couldn’t do it now and I just reminded myself that soon I would be able to purchase my own.

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Myself and other JLR members at the Annual Meeting

Well, at the meeting, which was beautiful, they called up all of the new members one-by-one and presented us all with a square box. Inside was my very own charm from the jeweler. Now, none of the ladies knew how much that meant to me because I held it in (well, they do now if they read this), but I can tell you that I cried when I got home and took it out of the package. I was so happy that I had my very own that I get to now wear with pride.

My point with this story is to share how important and meaningful some of the simplest things can be. My charm means something to me. Its representative of my first commitment to a volunteer organization outside of the ones my parents have been involved with. The things I do for or with the League are all my own, based on my abilities and my commitment. But the best part is that I am developing relationships with women I really like. They, like me, are choosing to commit to the organization because they also love it and what we do. I am with a group of like minded women who want to better our communities and ourselves. My charm represents all of that and it is a charm I will cherish forever.

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My new charm!

If you are local and want to check JLR out, let me know! If you are not and want to see about Leagues in your area, visit: ajli.org

fashion, inspiration

Favorite Summer Necklaces

I am a HUGE jewelry lover. I singlehandedly probably own more jewelry than you and your mother do. It is something I collect, I cherish, and I plan on sharing with my daughters and grand daughters someday. My favorite part about jewelry is that even though seasons and trends change, the jewelry you wear is always relevant. It allows you to showcase your personality and your likes. Simply put, I believe the jewelry you wear is representative of you!

I wanted to share some of my favorite pieces for the summer. There is also links for where to purchase them (click on the caption!).

  1. The head-Turning OMG Necklace
peacock statement
Peacock Plumes Statement Necklace

This necklace is super beautiful! Totally in trend for summer with the turquoise color, but also perfect for fall with the dark green and light browns also found in it. The peacock design is reminiscent of loyalty, timelessness and beauty to me and I just love how well it goes with everything! It pops with a black, navy or brown solid top and brings a freshness to a white blouse.

 

This necklace is the product of the company I represent, Chloe + Isabel, so I can attest to the quality and beauty of the piece.

2. The Not-So-Simple Long Necklace

kendra scott
Zayne Long Necklace

Give me a long necklace any day of the week and I will be a happy camper. They are so easy to put on and in a beautiful ivory stone, a no brainer!

 

I love Kendra Scott pieces because they are excellent quality, real stones and look beautiful. The best part of many of the pieces is the adjustable length that allows for decoration down your back too.

I am picturing this necklace in the rose colored metal because I love rose gold, but it also comes in silver and gold metals.

 

3. The Sliding Classic

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Sliding Ring Bolo Necklace

This necklace is so easy to wear! The O slides on the chains to be shorter or longer. It also has a lobster clasp in back to that is=t can be even longer or a bit shorter. The dangling chain is on trend, but the classic brushed gold look is minimalist and classic.

 

I will admit, when I saw this necklace in store, I picked it up right away. I knew I needed to have it and I have been so thankful I purchased it since! The chain is smooth and delicate but great quality. No way will it break on you. Plus, it is Madewell, so you know it is made well.

 

4. The Colorful Statement Necklace

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Golden Lotus Necklace

This necklace captured my heart because of the unique look and detail. Plus, it has colors that I love! I like the fact that the cord is silk and not metal, allows it to be light and comfortable on hot days.

 

This is another piece from Chloe + Isabel (I know! But I really love the summer pieces! They are so unique!). The metal has some movement so that the necklace moves with you. I just love the lotus design on this necklace.  It just makes me feel so relaxed and at peace while the colors make me happy!

5. The Metal Statement

georgina statement
Georgina Gold Fringe Necklace

I am a wholehearted believer that every woman should have that one necklace that she can throw on with her leather jacket and band tee that makes her feel bad ass. This necklace is that for me.

 

This one is also adjustable so it can be longer and more casual, or worn near the neck for a real statement maker. The tassel design is on-trend but the classic style makes it a timeless piece.

Done in a gold metal, this piece will be perfect in any season and you will find yourself reaching for it more often than you anticipate. Kendra Scott sure knows how to design a kick ass necklace!

Visit the links and shop around! You can say so much with the jewelry you wear. And the bet part? It always fits, no matter what size, shape or weight you are! The jewelry you buy today will be the jewelry you wear for the next 10, 15, 20+ years.

Leave a comment and let me know what you love, hate or want more of!

 

inspiration, thoughts

Acceptance: Because I CAN Accept Myself.

acceptance

Acceptance, such a simple word. It is comprised of the root ‘accept’ and the suffix ‘ance’ which denotes a quality or state or an instance of, in this case, accept. So, acceptance. We all desire this, even those of us who do everything in our power to be different, we want, need people to accept us as we are. We may be different, normal, stupid, smart, slutty. funny, fat, skinny, average, muscular, straight, gay, bisexual, or just plain undecided on all fronts.

Monday I got word from a potential employer that they were not going to pursue my application further. This came on the back on about four other rejection emails earlier in the day. I was crushed. I really wanted this position. It was everything I have seen myself doing, where I wanted to live, what I wanted to do, and I saw it opening doors into a future career after my Masters, if I pursued that route. And then they said no, I felt defeated, deflated and dejected. Now, I understand my job hunting woes are not singular to myself, many people are struggling finding a career, but I have always had such success. I have never been out of a job long. I got an interview and then I would get the job. In short, I felt I have always been accepted.

I received the email on my way to a Yankees/Angels game Monday night. I sat there, in the back seat of the car and felt my heart shatter. Now, the employer didn’t know that their email would have that affect, they didn’t know how invested I had been in my research, my planning, and my desire to make it work. I didn’t tell them and they didn’t ask. because those things aren’t ever communicated in the interview process. So, there I sat. I read the email and my heart broke. Tears welled up in my eyes and my shaking hands dropped my phone into my lap, I was devastated. I sat through that care ride wondering, “why?” Why didn’t they accept me?

There is that word again, accept. And when I wasn’t accepted by this employer I really wanted to have accept me, I began to reject myself. I began questioning myself. Was the issue me? Was I really not a “good fit” for the position, or did I simply lack the skill? Maybe I was just not the right look or personality or have the right motives, or the right ideas, reading the right books… gawsh the list could go on! I was questioning everything.

But then something happened. It wasn’t conscious, but the tears stopped and I shrugged my shoulders. I realized something, finally, that if I couldn’t accept myself, how could I expect someone else to accept me? If I keep talking the talk and not walking that same talk, how could I expect to get anywhere? Always being able to pick up a job led me to believe that I was being accepted, but I haven’t truly been accepted. I have played parts, in retail, in school, in sports. I was playing a role. Now, the struggle comes from the ability to pick the way the next several years of my life will go. Now, I get to pick a full-time job, something that requires skills, or maybe something that allows me to move where I want to be… I don’t know. Fear constantly looms on the horizon as I wonder whether I will be accepted by others. But maybe, maybe I don’t need to have everyone accept me. My acceptantance is enough.

Acceptance, insistence of accept, to be accepted. This blog is me accepting myself. And I have only just now realized that. I am honest here. I talk about things I actually want to talk about. It is great to have readers, and I hope what I have to say somehow touches you and helps you, but this is for me. I am accepting myself. Because I don’t need an employer to choose me to know that I am worth choosing. Because I am friggin’ awesome and really, it’s their loss. Not mine. And I can accept that.

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inspiration, thoughts

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is something I have heard about and knew enough about to seek out a test to see how I stacked up. I did this a little while ago simply because I like tests and I like to know what my “number” is in relation to others. Call it a method of self-measurement. Luckily, I score high in both IQ and EQ, so knowing my numbers means I get to stick a metaphorical feather in my cap and feel good about myself. I know, sounds terrible, but don’t lie, you do it too.

Anyways, at the TEDxUCIrvine conference I went to this past weekend, a gentleman I follow on LinkedIn was one of the speakers. Travis Bradbury quoted Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues in the beginning of his talk, “Emotions have taught mankind to reason.” He used this quote to frame his talk, so let’s analyze it.

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Emotions, well, we all know what those are. Our feelings, but are they filtered by reason? Emotions are in the base of the brain. They travel from the base of the brain and move up through the limbic system. Basically, (I am not an expert here, just relaying info as I heard it), emotions hit our brain unfettered by reason or experience. Our brain gets the raw emotion, that is then transferred to the front of our brain where reason clouds the raw emotion and creates a filtered and hopefully, appropriate response to the stimulus that caused the emotion. And all of this is subconscious.We do not play an active role in this.

Next let’s look at the word taught, simple past tense in this form. It means to impart knowledge or skill. Interesting when linked with the word emotion which definitely seems to be out of our control if our brain is processing and filtering our emotions subconsciously.

Next we have reason. Reasoning is thinking about something with the experience and knowledge to lead us to make assumptions and determinations. Again, interesting how something so far outside of our conscious control can teach us to reason. It would me more apt to say that reason is taught through the accumulation of knowledge and critical thinking.

After looking at the keywords in the quote, the meaning behind it becomes complicated. This ability to reason stems from the experiences we have throughout our lives nd the knowledge we accumulate. We can therefore benefit from emotions because they exercise our brain’s ability to apply the knowledgeand experience in order to filter the emotion adequately so our response is acceptable by societal standards. But how does this develop? And how does this relate to EQ scores?

Bradbury talked about how our EQ can be improved by managing aspects of our life such as stress, sleep hygiene, and our caffeine intake. Sleep is the most important factor, as we know, because it gives our body and brain time to reenergize and clean all the gunk out that builds up throughout the day. The more tired we are, the less likely we are to filter our emotions fully and we tend to have emotional outbursts. But there is also stress levels that affect us. Again, when we are at our wits end with stress, we tend to have emotional outbursts.

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So it makes sense that EQ is our response to emotional stimulus from people and our surroundings. The most intelligent person in the world may not be able to accurately read the emotion of their coworkers and might therefore, seem out of touch with people’s emotions and ostracize themselves. If we can understand other people’s emotions, we become more caring and compassionate human beings and are often moved to positions of leadership because we can manage people. All of this requires an openness to others and a desire to understand our fellow humans. Without this, we cannot hope to be able to understand and relate to others.

Read more about Emotional Intelligence by picking up on of Travis Bradbury’s books. More information can be found on his LinkedIn.

inspiration, thoughts

Resistance + Time Under Pressure = Strength

The TEDxUCIrvine event I attended last night blew my mind. I am an avid listener to the talks but had yet to attend one myself. I was truly impressed by all the speakers and felt like I got something personally from each one. However, one really resided with me and has left me reevaluating and reassessing my current perspective on resistance/struggle.

To caveat, patience is a serious struggle for me. I prefer my game and life to move quickly. I am constantly trying to remind myself that good things come with time. I try and recall every instance I lost something great because I pushed too much to move it along (and by gawd there are many instances like this in my life). One of these things, a big thing, is my weight. I have always been larger, in elementary school I was basically full-grown in all ways by fourth grade. Which, of course, meant I was teased and so my self-esteem suffered. In junior high I went to Academy by the Sea, a summer camp/school on the beach in Carlsbad. I spent so much time swimming, walking, in the ocean, the pool and other activities. And the food was not great. So I lost a bunch of weight. Honestly, I didn’t really notice. The next summer I went to Europe with People to People and I realized I was cute. But, my self-esteem issues were still prevalent. So, I threw myself into sports. I played soccer and softball in junior high and then softball, golf, waterpolo and swim in high school.

waterpolo hs
Me in sr. yr. of high school

In high school I was about a size 8. I had a butt and thighs and was broad across my back and I had larger arms. I was convinced I was huge. I had terrible self-esteem and I ate terribly in response. I ate fast food most days or cup of noodles with chips and sugary teas. My weight would fluctuate based on my workouts but I didn’t worry about it because I felt like I just always failed at being thin no matter how hard I worked. And, again, I was not patient at all. I thought if I didn’t look how I wanted to look in a month or two, it was a wasted effort. Now, looking at this picture I realize how much weight I have gained. Which is difficult because I am a master at not realizing what I look like. I feel a certain way inside and then when I look in a mirror I realize what other people see. Luckily my self-esteem has risen exponentially since high school. I understand I am overweight, but I now know that I am attractive and smart and unique. Things I didn’t see in high school.

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Lori Harder (go to her site)

To bring this back to the TED talk yesterday, Lori Harder was one of the speakers. If you don’t know of her, she is a fitness/healthy living guru. I was not aware of her until yesterday and today, I want to make sure that anyone I can tell about her, knows about her. I follow many fitness people on Instagram and I read Shape magazine and I do my research, but I really just loved what she had to say. I titled this blog with one of her main messages: “Resistance + Time Under Pressure = Strength.” She related this to life by sharing her life story and explaining how the tribulations you face in life are resistance. Failures and unhappiness is all a part of what will make you stronger if you just learn to harness the energy supplied by these resistances. As in physical strength training, the more resistance/weight you add, the more benefit your body gets out of it. Heavy weights tear the muscles when you work them and then they repair themselves and come back stronger. She says you need to see trials and tribulations in life like this, spend that time under tension, through the hard times, harnessing that pain and using it to fuel you. Build yourself back up and you will be stronger than you were prior.

Lovely right? Beautiful woman, beautiful message. Sounds so simple! HA! If you are like me you are getting all pumped up right now ready to remedy your life right this instance. And so you do, for a week, maybe a month, and your dreams don’t come true, you don’t look like Britney Spears and you still can’t afford that purse you want. So you quit, you fall back into your old ways, and you undo all the good you accomplished in that month (but don’t realize) in like 5 days and 2 Del Taco binges.

But, I feel differently about Lori’s message. I am extremely competitive, I hate to lose, and I hate to look weak. And you know what? I am losing the health battle right now. Yes, I am still a perfectly healthy 24 year old. I don’t have any issues, but! I may not be the same in the next 5-10 years if I keep going the way I currently am. Lori says that the resistance and tribulation is “not happening to you, it is happening FOR YOU.” Yes, that is purposefully in all caps. And underlined. And bolded. It is important. Self-respect means you care about yourself enough to want to make sure you remain the best you. You exercise good decision making and you honor your body. And, for me, it is easy to see all the resistance I face as attacks on the fortress that is my mind and body, but Lori encourages us to see it differently. Some super heroes absorb bullets and they are stronger because of it. They are more assured and determined to conquer their foes, to succeed. Now, if we did this in our everyday lives, could you image how strong we would be? I would be Iron Woman, no doubt!

The most important part of this though, if you think one hurdle is going to do the trick, you’re misguided. A track hurdle runner doesn’t leap over one hurdle and win the race. There are several hurdles. They have to continue to leap one after another and sometimes they stumble. But, they get up and they power through. They get stronger after each leap. Year after year they train, they leap and they run. And someday they might win the Olympics, some don’t. But they all become strong, determined and successful individuals. I don’t know about you, but I see strength as power. And I want all the power I can get. I want to be in control of my life and my destiny and I want to have the tools to conquer.

So, I highly recommend you look into Lori and her website. I linked it under her picture. You will not be disappointed with her and if you follow her advice, you won’t be disappointed in yourself either.

inspiration

What a Novel Idea

I have always dreamed of writing a novel. And making the decision to be serious about this blog and follow my love of writing to where it can lead me is apart of that. That being said, I have been dreaming of a story and have seen it all play out in my mind and today I took the first step. I began putting it on paper.

I busted out several pages and am going to continue to build this book. I am also working on my blogging skills and knowledge. I am very excited for this journey and I hope you all will continue to follow and join me as I continue to build myself.

And I also want to say, it took me leaving a job I disliked to realize that I was a heart shaped person fueled by love and curiosity trying to fit myself into a square space. However, I wasn’t willing to minimize my abilities and my desire to learn and be successful in order to fit into the square they wanted me to be.  And you shouldn’t either. I am happy to be dedicating myself to my blog, and now my book, while I look for a position that allows me to use my creativity and my love of words. You should also not be afraid to follow your heart and do what you love to do. It is never too late to change direction and try something different.

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fashion, inspiration, thoughts

Tee Be or Not Tee Be?

The perfect t-shirt. Sounds simple enough, until you recall that perfection is not actually possible. Simply trying to get as near perfection as we can is all we can do. However, that need not be quite as depressing as it sounds. Yes, I have spent years (like most of my teen and early adult years) searching for that t-shirt that stands out from the hordes, distinguishes itself by drape, length, material, cut, neckline, sheer-ness, and value. I have also purchased many t-shirts from Walmart, Target, Abercrombie, Ann Taylor LOFT, Madewell, Free People, James Perse, Rag & Bone, and other brands – too many to count. There are so many t-shirts out in the world it can be difficult to determine which ones are really going to be what you want. So, I am going to share my t-shirt favorites, a couple I dislike for comparison sake and t-shirts other style gurus suggest as well. Because, face it, this isn’t the first t-shirt blog ever written. Or even the one thousandth. But, I know I can always use additional opinions, so I am supplying my own!

The Criteria:

The aspects of the t-shirt that truly make the difference are material composition, cut, sleeve length, and the value (price vs. quality). The four of these together comprise the most perfect t-shirt you can find. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what the cost is, if the t-shirt isn’t something you feel amazing in, (or delicious, depending on what look you’re going for), then it is too much.

Material Composition:

It is important to take into consideration the fabric content of the t-shirt. This will affect the value of the tee as well as the drape and the sheer-ness of it. Depending on the style you desire, the fabric can give a boxy look, drapey, or fitted. The strength of the fabric determines the way it fades as it is washed – or even if it can be washed.

Cut:

Depending on the style of the t-shirt that you are looking for, cut is key! If you are looking for boxy, you would want the tee to a be shorter length, fitted tees should hit the top of the hip, while a drapey tee should be longer in length to achieve optimum drape. If you are like me, round butt and curvy hips, the length is even more important. The best t-shirts can go bad when they are the wrong length whether it results in the constant tup down, out, or getting stuck under your butt or hips.

Sleeve Length:

Sleeve length can make a boxy tee look very boxy or a slouchy tee look oversized. Some t-shirts have elbow sleeves. This can be cute rolled or long if you have thin arms. If your arms are larger, then a sleeve mid arm length is best.

Value:

Quality vs. Price. Very important! It doesn’t matter how affordable the t-shirt is if you have to buy 20 of them for every one at a higher price.

The Contenders:

Banana Republic – The Supima Cotton Crew $29.50

cotton crew banana republic
Shop Here
This tee is 100% cotton but still washes well. It doesn’t shrink or fade, nor is it thin. I love the sleeve length, just long enough to cover the largest part of the arm but not tight. It is fitted as well, with a feminine shape but not too narrow. The length is also ideal – not too long, hitting at the upper hip.

By far my favorite t-shirt. The fit gives me that “Dang I look good!” feeling and dare I say, feel sexy with how it hugs the right places. But, as you can see in the picture, is not clingy or too tight on the torso.

 

Madewell – Whisper Cotton Crewneck Tee $24.50

madewell cotton tee
Shop Here
By far one of my favorite non-boxy, boxy tees. It features a drop shoulder and a straight cut with room for a curvy shape. The sleeves roll beautifully yet remain an excellent length to cover the largest part of the arm without being tight. It is made of a light slub cotton. Is not thin enough to be sheer and doesn’t need a layer.

The length is perfect for this fit of t-shirt. Looks great tucked or left out. Has a slight shirt tail cut to the back of the tee with side cuts that remain modest. The only downfall, it says it is machine washable but they hold up best if hand washed.

 

Free People – We The Free Free Fallin Tee $58

free people we the free free fallin tee 58
Shop Here
One of the best purchases I have ever made! Certainly the tee is THIN. Anything you wear underneath will be a tad visible. Which makes this perfect for a racerback bralette (FP has a Galloon racerback that is perfect, I will link it).

The top is long all around and runs large. I would suggest sizing down at least one, maybe two sizes. It is perfect with leggings or knotted to the side. It is a drapey fit in a polyester, cotton, and rayon blend. It is a longer short sleeve with a sewn fold. Perfect drapey, lived in look.

 

 

J Jill – Pure Jill Scoop- Neck Elliptical Tee

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Shop Here
The best part of this t-shirt is the cut. The Elliptical tee is a longer length in the back, (comes in petite as well), so it is perfect with leggings. The seam along the back just below the natural waist gives definition to the tee so it doesn’t look so blousy in the back. The front of the tee lies flat and just above the hip joint. Super soft cotton that doesn’t fade or shrink makes it a favorite!

This tee is perfect for lazy days with a long pendant necklace. I love it on the days when I am feeling bloated because the cut is so flattering and slimming. It has a built in shape but is cut generously to allow for a long, lean look.

The Unmentionables:

Abercrombie & Fitch – Relaxed V-Neck Tee $18

abercrombie relaxed tee
Shop Here
Looks super cute on the model, I agree. And, if you are her size, the tee will look great. However, if you are any larger than a size 6, the tee shirt is small, tight and sheer. In addition, the neckline is very low, especially if you have a chest. The sides are also cut rather high. I generally like their items, and yes the tee is soft, but it is not a great fit.

I also don’t care for the sleeve length because it is so short and tight fitting. Also, this tee does not hold up well in the wash. It needs to be hand washed and it still frays, pills and looks dingy after a few wears.

 

Ann Taylor LOFT – Vintage Soft Pocket Tee $24.50

loft vintage pocket tee
Shop Here
This LOFT tee is my least favorite. While I worked for the company, I tried many times to like this t-shirt. I probably purchased ten trying to find one I liked but I never did. For one, the cut is short. On the model it looks fine, but in real life, the longest part barely comes to the top of the hip. In addition, the tee is cut wide with small sleeves. The tee is bulky on the shoulder because of this and if both arms are forward, the tee bunches in the chest. In addition, the shirt shrinks and the seams twist when washed. My least recommended t-shirt.

 

Let me know if you like these tees or if you have your own favorites I should try!