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HERE'S WHAT I FOUND:

12 items found

  • 10 Basic Pieces every Work Wardrobe should have [PART 1]

    ....so that getting dressed is easier. 1. Tailored pants or skirts in neutral colors like black, navy, or nude. A good pant is the key to most of my outfits and something I really invest in because I prefer them to last me for years. The reason I would recommend getting a neutral color scheme in lieu (or addition) of a widely colorful one is because a neutral palette allows for more cross-wearing of items. This is down to the ease at which you are able to pair them all up. You can, of course have bright colors as well, but I would put most of my budget toward good high quality neutrals as you will get the most wear out of those. 2. A classic blazer that can be dressed up or down. I own close to 20 blazers (and 99% are oversized) and if I had to get rid of even a single one it would feel like pulling teeth. Nearly all of them were thrifted, and I love how a good blazer can instantly change the entire vibe of your outfit. If I feel like the outfit I'm wearing is too dressy or too "corporate", I add an oversized blazer and it instantly dresses it down. A major plus is that they are so comfortable without having to cut back on looking polished. 3.Comfortable yet stylish shoes in neutral colors. Comfortable is key here. We all know and love a shoe that has made us bleed. Much like with love, it can look good all it wants - but the moment the pain becomes so unbearable you're slipping them off under your desk it is time to go! The options below are all either flat or have a minimal heel - making them super walkable for both long and short days. I love all of these because they can be work outside of the office as well - doubling up your closet while keeping the spending down. 4. A versatile dress that can be worn to different occasions. Have you noticed how people immediately assume you've put so much more effort in to your appearance whenever you wear a dress? It always makes me laugh because - let's be real - picking out a dress is far easier than picking out three or four different items. But hey, we'll take the compliment, am I right?! The below dresses are all office ready and can be paired with heels, flats, or sneakers - whatever your mood may be that day. 5. A crisp white blouse that can be paired with different bottoms. This is a classic piece that I will reach for time and time again. Want to look polished? White button-down. Want to have a chic little blue jean moment? White button-down. Need a cover up for that gorgeous little summer dress? White button-down. It just works, every time. I'm off to try and film a Spring reel for you - even though it is quite literally 29 degrees here this morning. *shudders* All my love,

  • Parisian Home // Shop + INSPO

    I have always had a deep love for the arts, but it wasn't until my 30's that I really dove into it in every sense and re-discovered a few of my favorite F words. Fashion. Furniture. Food. I've been pinning some home inspo for a while now, and the underlying theme was always somehow Parisian - ironic as I wasn't particularly smitten with the city when I visited 8 years ago - but the architecture is undeniably magical. SHOP THE LOOK:

  • Airport Chic | 5 airport outfits |

    I'm in the planning stages of my Graduation trip and I am soooo excited that I of course started shopping. 1. I love these 5 looks because they're sooooo comfortable, look great, and can be worn separately thought the trip-and beyond (long-term wearability is key for me!). I love this cream co-ord set because I already see myself wearing it beyond the plane and this trip! The top can be paired with jeans, a satin skirt, leather shorts - so many different ways! The bottoms could be worn with a t-shirt and leather jacket for a simple but "edgy" look or even a chunkier knit and some snakeskin boots for a perfect autumnal look. Top $49.90 | Bottom $49.90 2. The same goes for this second look - its so cozy yet still holds a level of sophistication thanks to the cut and monochromatic color. Top 49.90 | Bottom 49.90 3. I actually worse something very similar to this on my flight to (and from!) London and not only was I complimented both times, I was suuuuuper comfortable! This option is sleeveless and would be great for someone who runs a bit hot or gets anxiety flying qand needs to cool down. I'd paid it with a cardigan much like the one seen below in #4. Top $25.90 | Bottoms: $35.90 It comes in three different colors: 4. I wouldn't actually think to wear a dress when flying but this one looks so soft and so comfortable (sensing a theme here?) that I can definitely see myself traveling in this - especially if I was arriving to my hotel early and had some time to go out for a coffee or walk before check-in! The cardigan is essentially a blanket. Do I need to say more???? Love. Dress: $69.90 | Cardigan: $119.00 5. I simply couldn't do an airport looks post without including the OG herself - the sweater/sweatpants combo we that has been launched back into fame thanks to isolation. I'm still hunting for the perfect one myself (I want a specific color) but whenever I see someone snuggled up in one of these they look like they're in cozy heaven. Top $17.90 | Bottom $25.90 I'm still between #1 and #2 myself for this trip - though I'm also pretty sure #5 will make its way into my luggage before i know it All my love,

  • 8 Chic work bags that double as travel totes [shop]

    Since starting my new job I've found myself in dire need of a new work bag - preferably one that can fit: my work laptop my snacks (top tier necessity!) my small makeup bag I always pack but never use but will need the one day I decide not to pack it 😅 Ive searched high and low and most of them were so painfully outdated that I figured there have to be other women who are struggling to get their hands on something sleek, chic, and versatile - so here they are (starting at $45! Hover on the image for price - click to shop!) The winner, for me was: he Calpak tote as well as the leopard lunch bag IYKYK!) because the bag itself is so versatile - it can be carried across the body, on the shoulder, or in your hand - has a removable pouch that keeps you organized AND has the slip sleeve so you can secure it on to your carry-on when traveling - whether that be work or pleasure! I hope this has helped you find your perfect work bag - or at least shown you that you have options 🙌🏻 All my love, xx Dani

  • 15 Gorgeous Boots for AW21 // shop

    Here's hoping instagram allows smaller creators to use product links soon so you can just tap through easily! :) Boot shopping is a sure sign Autumn is just around the corner! While I'm still doing a ton of browsing (and it's still very much summertime in the Chi 😅), I came across these 70's inspired styles of which we will be seeing quite a bit this AW21 season (and likely into SS22 as well!). I've placed an order for a black and a cognac pair and am so excited to get them in! Of course I'll be sharing the unboxing as well as my review of both when they come in over at @_dresswithdani ♥ AFFILIATE LINKS: BONUS // THE CHUNKY ANKLE CHELSEA BOOT: Until the next edit, xx Dani

  • Autumn/Winter wardrobe refresh // Mini H&M + ZARA haul

    Okay, I know the last thing any of us need is yet another shopping post and I will be the first person to tell you you do NOT need to buy something just because someone is posting about how much they love it (even if that's me!). A lot of pockets are tighter this season, and there's no shame in that! You know your spending abilities best, and if you've got some wiggle room and are looking for a few staple pieces with longevity, then I do hope I can help. I actually haven't done much shopping this year as I also experienced a financial hit one way or another due to the current global state, and seeing as I am currently a full time student with no income, I'm on a tiiiiiight budget so when I tell you I scrolled and "added to/deleted from cart" A LOT, I'm not kidding. Below are the few bits I did end up going with and of course have been living in ever since. Anyone else do that? Whenever I get new pieces in, I act like I don't own anything else 😅 I planned to do a video for this but finals week begun and I never got around to it. Seeing as some pieces have started to sell out I figured I'd get them up now before they go! 🥺 *all linked in photos below* HIGH-RISE CIGARETTE TROUSERS - £15.99 $25.99 CUT-OUT KNIT TOP - £19.99 $35.90 HIGH-WAIST TROUSERS - £12.99 $19.99 PLUSH HOODIE - £5.99 $9.99 SOFT-TOUCH SWEATSHIRT - £7.99 $12.99 UK LINKS: USA LINKS: I was combing the internet for this STUNNING piece before I moved over to London with no luck whatsoever, so when it practically fell into my lap during some research for another post, I checked out at lightening speed! Seeing as the original one I saw is by KATHIE and retails for $1,080 you can imagine how thrilled I was when I found this one at £29.99 (US $49.99). (IT HAS GONE ON SALE SINCE, £19.99, $29.99) CHUNKY BRAIDED KNIT - £34.99 $49.99 CHECKERED TROUSER- £10 $14.99 CURVEY KNIT DRESS - £49.99 $69.99 SEAMLESS BRALETTE - £17.99 $24.99 CAMEL CALF-LENGTH COAT - £59.99 $79.99 UK LINKS: USA LINKS: All my love,

  • My Cb2 Modern Holiday Edit - with snakes.

    After I ordered my little New Year's tree earlier this morning I got so carried away with the rest of the decor that I had to reign it back in reeeeeeeal quick. Initially not planning to do any seasonal decorating because I'm on a tight budget this year ( read: COVID sabotaging my income as it did with many across the globe, and my being a student on top of it) but in the end decided that spending the holidays alone about 4,000 miles away from my loved ones was going to bring me down enough as is, so to cheer myself up I set a £100 budget! This of course won't allow for my "dream" winter wonderland by any stretch, but certainly didn't stop me from curating it for anyone who does have the funds and maybe needs a little help in that department <3 So if you'd like to turn your home into a cozy but modern winter dream worthy of a spread in AD, but don't know where to begin - or just love browsing through holiday mood boards for inspiration, then have a look at my Cb2 edit - Holiday Edition. I initially fell in love with Cb2 when I curated a Winter Wonderland for a client last year, and I think it's easy to see why. They have such unique pieces that make for great focal points and can be used time and time again. Happy decorating! All my love, || Instagram || YouTube || Pinterest || Facebook ||

  • H&M Autumn // Wardrobe Refresh

    The first leaves have started to fall, and the air smells of Pumpkin Spiced Latte's... if that's your thing. So of course, the fall looks have started to arrive and I have been swooning over everything cozy, knitted, and....mocha. This nude and muted color palate is a win for a few reasons; 1. It's versatile - which means you'll be able to pair it with so many different pieces - both old and new! Freshening up your wardrobe doesn't have to mean nixing everything you have and buying a whole new one (in this economy?!). I've been careful to only buy pieces that I know I can get a lot of wear out of, and that won't have me scratching my head when it's time to pick an outfit. Lord knows we've all been there before. 2. It's elegant - and in such an easy, understated way. These tones will immediately make you look put together and chic without trying too hard - the perfect combination when you want to look stylish without the headache or high-end price-tag. 3. It's timeless - We all have a few pieces in our wardrobes that we've only worn once or twice (or worse yet, never!) because we fell in love with something a little more dramatic and just had to have it. I'm trying to move away from impulse buying and really make sure I purchase pieces that will last me further than just one season and guarantee long-term wearability. A lot of these can be worn in the Autumn/Winter but will also beautifully transition you into Spring when styled with some beautiful pastel colors. Here are some of my favorite AW2020 picks from H&M that you can take from day to night and everything in-between. If you need me, this is where I'll be until further notice: All my cozy autumnal love, || Instagram || YouTube || Pinterest || Facebook ||

  • July Favorites // The SOFTEST lounge-wear combo, chic chunky gold hoops, and more!

    Chunky Gold Hoops Color: Gold Brand: Anne Klein Store: Amazon I want to kick my first off my first "Monthly favorites" post since 2011 (whoops) with a pair of earrings I have worn literally almost every day since I purchased them back in March. No, really - look; Ever since the gold jewelry trend popped up I have been searching for the perfect pair of gold chunky earrings and never found anything I loved. They were all either too small or too hoop-lie so I was thrilled when I came across these gooooooorgeous earrings are by Anne Klein and immediately fell in love! I'm seriously considering getting a second pair in case something happens to this one. I pop them on whenever I'm not having a good morning and cannot get myself to dress "up", and they immediately elevate any look - I also love wearing them with jeans and a tee as well! I think part of why I'm such a fan is because they're so versatile! Trust me you will not regret this purchase. Satin PJ set Color: Mint Brand: Stars Above Store: TARGET Size: M (I always size up in sleepwear because I like it looser) I kind of have a thing for these. I have a few silk & satin PJ sets and this one was a veeeery happy recent addition! A lot of these sets look really cute but end up being rough or super cheap so I was pleasantly surprised when this one by stars above felt like butter on my skin - especially considering its pricepoint! I got the striped mint but am considering going back for the other to as well. I mean after all, can you really ever have enough pjs? They're great for sleep-overs, vacations, weekend getaways as well as home. The loungewear combo to end all loungewear combos Color: Gray Size: XS, both Brand: Stars Above Store: TARGET I am not joking when I say that if I had to choose between keeping only this or every other piece of loungewear I own, I would gladly hand over my cozy drawer because it's just been out-cozied. These pieces feel like ACTUAL clouds. No, they feel like a soft, sun-peeking through behind fluffy small clouds on a warm spring morning. I'm not being dramatic. Seriously. It feels like someone poured silk on me. This is definitely something that can be worn year-round as it's not too thick for Chicago summers, and layers well in the winter. If there is only one thing you buy from this list - MAKE THIS IT! I have spent ridiculous amounts on VS cozies and they have not been anywhere nearly as recommendable. This is a jackpot and I am going back for the other color. THE dress Color: Black (also comes in white & peach) Size: S Brand: Store: TARGET This dress is on this list for several reasons; Work to play - it can so easily be taken from one to the other just by switching out your shoes or bag - the silhouette makes it super versatile! Flattery - we all love a bit of that! Most dresses of this length and shape can cling onto the weirdest places of your body, but this shape is so beautiful that it gives you enough room to move and enhances your silhouette as the pockets (yes, pockets!!!) hold the structure really well and ensure you're not caught in a skin-tight mess. The slit goes up to about mid-thigh (you can't see that too well here) so it has a little bit of sex appeal in the most subtle way (my favorite). Comfort - seriously, it feels like you're wearing comfy sweats but... you're actually in a chic dress! This is also something I am going back for in cream because I have a feeling I will get so much wear out of it! It's the kind of staple that you will reach for every time you need a quick outfit solution and want something you know looks and feels good. That's a winner in my book. Reusable cotton mesh grocery tote Color: Beige (comes in many!) Size: One size Store: AMAZON Ahyuan Ecology Reusable Cotton Mesh Grocery Bags Cotton String Bags Net Shopping Bags Mesh Bags Pack of 3 (Beige) I was really skeptical about these because I thought that they were far too small to really hold anything, and nowhere near sturdy enough - I'm glad to report I was wrong on both counts! These little totes stretch quiiiite a bit and hold a lot of groceries! I cant wait until we are allowed to use our own bags at the stores again - this is a much easier way to carry everything than those bulky paper bags + it's way better for the environment! And at this price, there are no excuses ;) The eyebrow pencil that swore me off anastasia Color: Brown Brand: L.A. Girl Store: TARGET I picked this up randomly on a quick target run because I ran out and I am blown away! It's by LA Girl (never heard of them before) and is super thin which I love because it allows for so much precision and a very natural look. At $5.99 it's a major steal and will definitely be something I re-purchase, and possibly even stock up on! Set of two silk scrunchies Color: Nude Set (comes in pink/blue as well) Brand: n/a Store: TARGET This was a definite impulse purchase but I'm not mad at it! I picked up the nude tones but they also have a blue/pink set - I love these because they're really chic and functional! I use them when I'm wearing a super neutral look as I feel like it would be a little too cutesy with patterns/ruffles/etc, but they are great for pulling my hair back in an easy low pony or layering on top of a sturdier scrunchy when tying my hair higher. I hope you enjoyed July's favorites! Tag me if you end up getting any of them - I love seeing your posts and how you style things ♥ All my love,

  • Decade Fashion - my interpretation // BACKINTIME magazine

    People always ask me what a person who lives alone does to keep busy during this lockdown and the answer (at least for me) is stay creative. I read, write, paint, sew, and do just about everything else I can think of - outside of my work and class schedules. So last week I had an idea to do a decade shoot - I have always LOVED dressing up (Halloween is my favorite holiday!) so this just made sense. Then I thought it would be really cool to add some fun facts in the instagram caption and the next thing I knew I found myself working on a full-fledged pretend Magazine Style Project and I loved every second! I really enjoy researching and creating these looks, as well as learning more about what the state of the country I live in was like in the past, and I really cannot wait to tackle the remaining decades! I hope you come along for the ride, and add whatever fun facts you have along the way ♥ 1920's 1930's 1940's 1950's 1960's See you in the next decade, follow along; INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | YOUTUBE

  • DIY Organic at-home treats for your skin

    Seeing as we're all on a lockdown of sorts (albeit by choice as of this moment) this is a time for some at home pampering if there ever was one! I love face masks but am always so weary of store-bought ones because when I flip over to the ingredient side it feels like I'm reading a chemistry book. While I get that some chemicals are very beneficial for the skin, I prefer the organic route when it comes to masks. Here are four of my favorites - the best part is that you likely already have these ingredients in your pantry! This is the first DIY mask I ever did and I am still obsessed with it three years later! It's actually on my agenda for later today and I cannot wait! The process is super quick and easy, but make sure you do NOT leave this one on longer than 5 minutes because your skin will 100% stain yellow if you do. Especially if - like me - you're 50 shades of pale! I would also suggest a colored mixing dish because the turmeric will literally stain any light surface, so definitely rinse and wash whatever you are using right after. I usually wash up while my mask is setting. Ingredients: 1 teaspoon turmeric 1 tablespoon milk 1 teaspoon honey 1 teaspoon flour (if you prefer a thicker consistency add more flour) Feels like: A thick cream - you shouldn't be experiencing tingling of any sort. Smells like: Turmeric overload. Not gonna lie, this isn't my favorite scent but it's more than manageable - especially when you know the end result! Time needed: Ten minutes total. About three to make, five to leave on, and two to rinse + clean up. Benefits: This mask always leaves my skin feeling super soft and gives it a healthy, bright appearance! I love the glow it gives off and feel like it absorbs moisture so much better as well. HOW TO; 1. Mix together all ingredients in a bowl. The mixture should not be runny, it should have more of a fluffy consistency. If it's too runny add a little more flour. If it's too thick, add some more milk. Avoid adding more turmeric for thickening as you will literally turn your skin yellow and there's no fix for that one. 2. Apply mask to face. 3. Go on about your day for 3-6 minutes (you can spot check your first time so you know how long you can go in the future without fear of discoloration) 4. Rinse off slowly using a wash cloth and warm water. Voila! Okay, I get that store-bought lip masks are all the rage lately but honestly, this is still my go-to whenever I know I'm wearing a matte lipstick and want to buff away any of those pesky dry spots or just in general as a weekly pick me up because... Chicago Winters wreck havoc on more than just our roads (and sanity). This is hands-down the simplest and quickest treatment ever! Ingredients: 1 tablespoon sugar 1/2 tablespoon honey *sugar can be brown or regular, whichever you prefer. I always use brown because I like the texture better. *this is not just for a 1 time use, I keep it in a little jar so I can use it several times without having to mix each time) Feels like: Sugar and honey on your lips! No other way to describe it, really. Smells like: Candy! So yummy! Time needed: Under five minutes. Benefits: This is literally the fastest way to combat dry lips. It leaves them looking, smelling, and feeling ahhhmazing! (obviously not a good idea if your lips are cracked, please do not try this because it will likely not feel so.. amazing) You can also just lick it off when you're done - but if you're grossed out by eating your own dead skin (lol) you can also wash it off. HOW TO; 1. Mix 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 tablespoon of honey together. 2. Apply desired amount to lips and, using your finger, buff around, really working it in to your lips. *Optional, you can leave it on for a minute or two to let the honey sink in and then scrub once more before removing. YOU WILL WANT TO EAT THIS! You probably could, to be fair.... This treatment is one that really depends on you skin type as not all skin can handle sugar on top of it. I avoid this one week before my period because my hormonal acne lights my chin up like a Christmas tree as is and I really don't feel like giving it a helping hand in plummeting my confidence because.... well, we're not friends. When I am in the clear, however I love this scrub. It removes all the gunk that likes to build up throughout the day and scrubs away those pesky little blackheads! And it smells amazing. Ah-ma-zing. Like a blended coconut coffee. After I mix it I use it as I would any scrub - if I need to really get in there (ex. after traveling) I'll use it in conjunction with a facial loofah but honestly it does the trick well enough on its own. Just massage it in circular motions giving a little extra love to your dry or problem areas, rinse, and reveal glowing and rejuvenated skin! As an added bonus, the caffeine in the coffee will also help wake you up, not just your skin! Ingredients: 1 tablespoon brown sugar 1/2 tablespoon ground coffee 1 tablespoon coconut oil Feels like: Heaven on your skin. Very fine and grainy! Smells like: An iced coffee on a summer day. No, really. Time needed: Ten minutes total. Benefits: The scent of the coffee will wake you up, but its properties will also boost your skin! Someone who knows what they're talking about said; Sugar body scrubs are great for exfoliating your skin, as they aid in keeping it healthy by removing dead skin cells, lifting away dirt and excess oil, as well as stimulating circulation. Glycolic acid occurs naturally in sugar, and is helpful for cleansing the skin and dissolving dead skin cells. It’s also a humectant and will not strip your skin of its precious natural oils. HOW TO; Mix all three ingredients together. When you're ready to use the scrub, wash your skin (this can be for face and body!) with warm water and while it's still damp, scoop up as much of your natural scrub as you need and apply it by rubbing it in in a circular motion. I like to apply a little more pressure on my nose as it really smoothes out any dead skin and helps diminish the size of blackheads. Apparently this scrub is phenomenal for minimizing cellulite due to the caffeine but I haven't tried it so can't vouch for that bit! If anyone does, let me know - This is one I tried most recently and I swear by it whenever the sky is gray and I'm feeling lethargic. The smell is not the best due to the apple cider vinegar but my skin feels phenomenal after so I will happily sit there smelling like a Balkan Salad for a few minutes. Make sure you do not let this dry completely because it's nearly impossible to get it off unless you plan on being in a hot shower for 20ish minutes. I learned the hard way and trust me you do not want to go through that. I start removing mine when the cracks begin to appear and I do so by wetting a washcloth with warm water and slowly scrubbing it off in a circular motion. You can also peel it off which is definitely more satisfying! Ingredients: Apple cider vinegar Aztec Clay Use equal parts of both. So if you're popping in 1 tablespoon of ACV, do the same with your clay. It should be a mask like consistency, nice and smooth - almost like palačinke (crepe) batter. DO NOT USE METAL WITH THIS MIXTURE! Use glass or wood for the bowl and spatula. Plastic is ok too, but absolutely no metal. Feels like: Clay. Smells like: A balkan salad or the tramvaj at six pm on a hot summer day. Time needed: Fifteen minutes. Three minutes for prep, three to seven for the mask to do its magic, four to five for clean up - it takes a while to get everything off because of the consistency. Benefits: "ACV has antibacterial and antifungal properties and can help kill bacteria and yeast on the skin related to conditions like acne, and eczema". The clay also lifts all the gunk from your pores and leaves your skin smooth and supple. There you have it! Four super simple and super quick DIY skin treatments you can do at home. I did the coffee scrub + lips scrub yesterday morning and am planning on doing the aztec clay today and the turmeric one tomorrow on my WFH lunch break! In case you decide to make any of these in a larger quantity (which I suggest) I love these amazon glass containers! You get 30pcs for $19.99 - which is a great deal. Also, if you travel a lot this is going to be so useful because you won't have to lug around all your full sized potions and lotions in your checked bag. Until next time, All my love (but from a distance) *all images used in this post are stock images*

  • 10 lessons I'm taking in to 2020

    Happy new decade everyone! ✨ The first official full week of 2020 is coming to a close already, and it's still a little crazy to me because I feel like 1997 was three years ago . Anyone else? 🕚 Like many of you, I usually start every new year by reflecting on the last and like to do so by journaling. I decided to share a little excerpt from my reflection because I think some of you may benefit from these ten things I had to learn on my own skin, and may even find that we had similar experiences 🦋 This is my longest post yet and I know that a 15 minute reading time is ludicrous to a millennial whose attention span is 12 seconds, but I don't think a line or two per point would do it justice or really teach anyone anything valuable and when I decided I would get back to writing I I really wanted to do that organically and by staying true to my voice rather than trying to mimic what I see everywhere else. I believe that one of the most beautiful and important things in life is human connection and feeling understood, accepted, and welcomed - and that's just not something you can do with five or six lines. If you are more of a skimmer and don't want to read the whole thing, here is a table of contents, feel free to scroll to the points that interest you. ☕️ 1. Don't ignore your intuition. 2. People don't give advice based on who you are, they give advice based on who they are. 3. Cut out Energy Vampires. 4. Try your best to be more understanding. 5. Learn when to say "No". 6. With age comes confidence. 7. Someone's opinion of you is none of your business. 8. Money is nice, but it really isn't everything. 9. Want vs Need. 10. Life is short. Without further ado... the first and biggest lesson; I think we’ve all made a decision and instantly gotten that knot-in-the-stomach feeling. The one where you keep trying to convince yourself that this is a good thing but deep down you know it isn't. That's your intuition calling you out and you need to stop ignoring it. Whether it’s about that new person you’re dating, a recent job offer, a large purchase, getting bangs - or anything in-between. The rule of thumb is; If it feels wrong, it probably is. Quick story time; My sister and best friends joke that I'm like a cat, because no matter what happens or how dire the situation I always land on my feet. I used to agree – it felt like someone was watching over me. I don't know how to explain it, but I just always somehow trusted the universe had my back. And it did. Until it didn't. This shift happened when I stopped trusting my inner voice and instead started letting other people's voices in. It got especially bad and unhealthy after I went through a difficult time a few years ago and didn’t trust or believe in myself at all. I questioned my choices, my life, my thoughts, and essentially blamed what was happening on myself. As a result, I took the advice and opinions of others to an extreme and started to change. I was so emotionally exhausted that I essentially became a ghost of my former confident, fun-loving, outspoken, bright self and just kind of went with the flow. It's almost like watching a candle lose its light. If you've experienced something similar, this is probably all too familiar to you. If you haven't - imagine feeling so many emotions so intensely for so long that you completely wipe out and suddenly feel none. Leading up to and during this state I put immense pressure on myself and where I thought I "needed" to be in life - as most of us do, but again it was to an extreme. Relationship wise, work wise, milestone wise. I had all these ideas of what it should be. What does this have to do with intuition? Well, I actually knew deep down that I didn't want any of these things and they didn't feel right for me, yet I still tried to conform. So essentially, I wasn't trusting myself or my intuition at all. Now imagine my frustration when I started ticking all these boxes and it still didn't feel right. Even after I squeezed my way in to this self-inflicted mold by changing my values and goals, by settling, and by chipping away pieces of who I was it literally blew up in my face. And I'm glad it did because it essentially catapulted me back to myself. It taught me that ignoring your intuition and not being true to yourself is the worst thing you can do and will not lead to fulfillment. It taught me that the low moments are the ones during which we need to trust and uplift ourselves the most. It taught me that I would rather fail organically than succeed fraudulently. Because succeeding as anything other than who you really are can be the greatest failure of them all. Imagine waking up in 30 or 40 years and realizing you never lived life the way you wanted to because you didn’t trust your instincts and forge your own path but instead coasted into an "okay" life. This was almost me! And it is almost so many of us! As far as we know, we get one shot at life and it can end literally at any second. So why do anything other than what makes you happy?! I think it’s amazing if you're already living life your way. If you aren't (and are in the position to do so), there's still time to start. ✨ As for me, I recently came back to myself and funnily enough things started falling in to place once more and almost instantly the looming feelings of claustrophobia and stress were replaced with excitement and my old adventurous spirit. The cat is back. I don't expect that life will be perfect moving forward (it rarely ever is) but at least this time around I know that whatever happens will happen because of the choices I made wholeheartedly. 2020 (and on) I look forward to the ride and vow to trust myself above all along the way. I hope you will as well, because really - nobody knows you the way you do. I said this to one of my best friends this year as she was at a crossroads and it stuck with me because it was so true. When we advise someone we see the scenario through the lens of our values, expectations, experiences, and intuition. We are telling someone how we would solve a problem, or handle a situation. For example, you're offered an amazing opportunity, but it's in another city (or country). You weigh your pros and cons and then ask two friends for advice. FRIEND #1 says; "Aren't you scared? You don't know anyone there. Where will you live? What will you do with all your stuff? Isn't moving expensive? What if something happens? I mean it's your call but I could never." FRIEND #2 says; "That's amazing! My time in Germany changed my whole life! You're going to meet so many new people and get to see a whole new corner of the world! Wow! I'm so excited for you! Do you need help finding a moving company? Trust me, this will be a pivotal part of your life. " While it may seem like friend #1 is negative and unsupportive, they're not. Judging by their reaction it's safe to say that they wouldn't be able to make that move themselves. They have likely never been very independent and can't imagine that kind of lifestyle change. And that's ok - they're seeing it through their lens. Friend #2 is doing the same exact thing. Think about it, if they had an awful time in Germany would their advice still seem supportive? Neither of these is better than the other. Both are giving you advice not based on who you are, but based on who they are and what they have (or haven't) experienced. Once this sunk in it was so much easier for me to take people's advice and opinions as just that. I realized that - whether it seems positive or negative - advice is just advice, not a guide on how you should live your life. Even if it comes from those rare few who are able to give us advice based on who we are. I say this because sometimes after hearing what someone we love, value, and respect says we let our own initial decision be swayed and may even change our mind. I was so guilty of doing this and have definitely wasted time and missed opportunities because I kept changing my mind due to external input. It's ok to hear people out and take what they say into consideration - it usually helps us see another perspective which can be very helpful. But always remember they're seeing it through their lens and that ultimately the only person who knows what's good for you is you. 2020 is the year of detox! We are detoxing our skincare, our makeup, our foods, our homes - and... people. Yup, the people we let in to our lives (both in person and online) affect us more than we think. To preface this; us women can be a little crazy. And we need to share our crazy so we can feel less crazy. We do this by venting to our heaven sent angels - our best friends. Or the internet if that's your thing... or your partner if that's all you've got available at the need-to-vent-will-explode moment (bless their souls). While vent-sessions are crucial for our health and sanity, there is a difference between getting something off your chest once in a while and constantly complaining about everything and everyone - that makes you an Energy Vampire. I can guarantee that you have met one. Think back of a time when you were in an amazing mood and then ran in to someone who started complaining about everything under the sun. Or when you felt someone's presence shift the whole damn room in to darkness every time they enter. Or when yet another post from Negative Nancy ranting about god knows what popped up on your feed. Next thing you know, the wave of negativity seeps in to you and poof, there goes that amazing mood. Now you're angry too, for no reason. Then you get even angrier because you're angry for no reason.😂 Your energy has been sucked out of you by an Energy Vampire. It's not their fault - it's ours. Yours. Mine. His. Hers. We can't control how other people behave - but we can control what we allow in to our lives and on to our feeds. So leave Energy Vampires in 2019 - and try not to be one yourself! Mute or unfollow the ones on social media, and disconnect yourself from the ones in real life. The shift in your mood will be almost instant. IMPORTANT: Not everyone who has low energy is negative and toxic. When we struggle with something (which we all inevitably do) our energy naturally deflates.This is not being toxic, it's being human. I'm not talking about this at all - please don't abandon your loved ones who are having a difficult time. Distance yourself from those who are and have always been negative and toxic. I know you know the difference.* This may seem a bit ironic as a follow-up to the last lesson, but just to be clear (again), I'm not saying we need to allow unethical, damaging, or unhealthy behavior. That's not excusable and you can't (and should never have to) "fix" someone. I'm talking about the smaller differences that can sometimes frustrate us, especially in this era of insant-everything. We get our coffee, groceries, clothing, gadgets - and even intimacy almost instantly through an app, and our patience is at an all time low. We want it and we want it now. That's not how humans work. I have a few friends with kids, and as they were all hitting milestones at different ages one of them said "everyone learns and grows at different speeds, it's not a competition" - and I thought it was such a beautiful way to look at it. Can we please remember this and apply it well into adulthood too? Give people time, patience, understanding and most importantly clear communication. How often do we get frustrated because we expect someone to see something our way- right away? Too often. We quickly forget that we've all gone through different things in life and as a result function differently. Sometimes that's true even if you are raised the same - I have two siblings who were raised in the same household and all three of us still see things very differently. Not to mention that, for those of you who live in the US or a similar large melting pot of cultures need to remember that there are so many different values and perspectives at play. What is supportive in one culture can be seen as rude in another, and so on. Just because a person is not doing something exactly the way you need them to, when you need them to doesn't mean that they're not trying their best. So instead of expecting perfection, be kind and communicate clearly and openly. I used to think that because I understood things a certain way and at a certain speed everyone should - how egocentric is that? Just as you've been frustrated with someone, you've been the reason someone was frustrated. Nobody is right all the time, nobody's opinion is the only one that matters, nobody is the center of the universe. We're all here together, why not make it a kinder and more understanding place to be, grow, and love? Are you always saying yes? To friends, family, employers, partners, everyone? Are you always moving your own schedule around to fit someone else's? Going the extra mile? Staying late? Arriving early? Prioritizing other's needs? If you are then you must be exhaaaaaausted. I know I was. We do this because we don't want to let people down or make them feel as if they are not supported or as if we didn't care. Problem is, we end up spreading ourselves thin and wearing ourselves out, which does us and everyone around us a disservice. If you're always tired then, naturally, you're never fully present. Your work will become less concise and suffer because you are not resting. If you're burnt out you might as well not attend your lunches, brunches, and dinners with family or friends - it's easy to spot someone who isn't really there and while I agree that sometimes we do need to tough it out (ex. important event we RSVP'd for ages ago), we don't always need to say yes when we already know we won't have the time or energy. Start saying no. Say no when you're not feeling up to doing something or going somewhere. Cancel if you know you need to rest instead - the right people will understand. The first few times may be weird because for some reason we feel like we need an "excuse" to say no, or as if we should accept every invite that comes our way. Neither are true, nor are they realistic. I'm not telling you to start saying no to everyone and everything. That's extreme. I'm advising you to start being more intentional with what you say yes and no to. Your time, presence, and help should be valued, not expected. And I don't know about you, bud I'd rather see a rested friend once or twice a month then an exhausted one every week. Some people have always been confident in themselves and their choices. Some have not. If you're the latter, then you'll see what I mean by this point and you'll know it when you get there. As you get older you will literally care less about what other people think. Whether that's about you or your life choices - it just doesn't affect you the same way anymore. It's not because you become arrogant, but because you become so secure with yourself and proud of who you are that external validation is just no longer a thing. And it's beautiful. This point is especially relevant to all my fellow empaths! If you are one, you'll likely take it personally when you learn someone doesn't like you - not because you need to be praised and adored by everyone (that would be a narcissist, opposite of empath) but because you assume you must have somehow hurt or offended them, and you'll want to know what it was. That was me. Now I'm less worried about impressing people and more interested in whether or not they're impressing me. I realize that someone's opinion of me really is none of my business. There are literally about 5 people whose opinion of me I value, and the rest I take with a grain of salt and you should too! Accept that everyone has the right to an opinion. And they don't have to like you. There are plenty of people that I'm not particularly fond of. There are plenty of people that are not particularly fond of me (some may even be reading this, ironically). Not being fond of someone doesn't equate to wishing ill on to them or some kind of high-school dramatics and in the larger scope of life, it's really not that serious. You're not my cup of tea, but that doesn't make you my sworn enemy (and viceversa). Understand that some people just need a villain and you fit the bill for the time being. I've seen this happen to others, I've had it happen to me, and unfortunately, I've done it to someone myself. This happens when you're at the wrong place at the wrong time and poof, you're the devil. Whether it's because you disagreed with someone, have made someone feel inferior (yes people are that petty), or a slew of other factors that have nothing to do with you. Sometimes people simply need a scapegoat, and sometimes that will be you. The way those people act has more to do with who they are and what they are going through than with who you are. Don't waste your energy trying to prove a person wrong who is determined to misunderstand you. I say this as someone who has been on both sides. I'm sure there are enough points to fill up a whole post on this lesson alone, but these are the main two I learned. The best one, though, I learned from my Mama. I remember telling her about a lengthy negative comment I got a few years ago and how I really didn't want to get back to publicly writing and sharing because of what that anonymous account had said and she just looked at me and responded with; "What does someone's opinion of who they think you are have to do with who you know you are?". That was my eureka moment and I hope it can be yours as well. This year I was at the highest and lowest ends of the spectrum, ironically just a few months apart. And what I learned is that while there are not as many things that can make you feel so unstable and unaccomplished as not meeting your financial goals (especially in your 30's) there also isn't much joy that comes from having a good chunk of money in your bank account but no time or energy to spend it because you are constantly working 60+ hour weeks and exhausted. "24/7 Hustle" culture is toxic as hell. Money is necessary for happiness to a certain extent - a roof over your head, food in your fridge, gas in your car...etc. On whatever level satisfies you - be it a studio in the suburbs or a 5 bedroom house in Gold Coast. The key is to remember that (as one of my best friends likes to remind me) we work to live, we don't live to work. Whether that's a job you aren't too fond of, or your dream career - you need balance. And as for money - make it, spend it, save it, however you want with no apologies and to whatever extent you choose to. Just don't let it make you. This ties in to the last point a little. I keep seeing the quote "Remember the days you prayed for what you have now" and it is such a powerful reminder. Especially because as we get more, we want more. To some people that "more" is going from a Marc Jacobs bag to a Chanel one. To others it means a promotion at work, or a new car. Do more, achieve more, grow more, make more, have more. And I fully support that - so long as you are chasing your definition of more, and not someone else's. I struggled with this (in the career realm) the last few years, I felt like I had to keep climbing the ladder and getting to higher positions with more responsibility and more "recognition". While it looked good on paper and sounded great at networking events, it really didn't do much for my happiness or day-to day life. I was more stressed, more agitated, more irritable and for what? An extra few thousand dollars year? A title that sounds "important"? Who was I looking to impress here? And why? It was what I thought I wanted, but far from what I needed. Does that resonate with you? The next time you have a big decision to make, look at your personal need vs want. Hear what your instinct is trying to say. Flip a coin - you'll know what you want it to be mid-air. Set your own standards, and then smash them - for yourself. And... Remember the days you prayed for what you have now. It's a cliche, I know but we really do forget. 2019 came with loss and a cruel reminder that we can be here today and gone tomorrow, no matter how old we are or how much time we feel is owed to us on this earth. I'm not saying you should quit your job and blow all your savings on travel or a new car... "Live like there's no tomorrow" is something we hear over and over again but it isn't realistic. We have bills to pay and things that need to get done. But in the midst of all that, try to live each day a little fuller - to the best of your ability. Don't live just for the big moments. The promotions, accomplishments, celebrations, trips. Live for the random Thursday coffee in the midst of a mundane work day. Most of our lives will not be extraordinary, they'll be pretty simple, but they still fill hours of our days spent being alive. Learn to find joy even in those moments. Whether you decide to take time on your lunch break and sit on a bench by the beach, or plan more family vacations or dinners, travel to a new city each summer, take a less stressful job so you can enjoy life after 5pm - Whatever it means for you, I hope you get to do it in 2020 and marvel at the mystery that is life. Wishing you all a safe and happy entry in to a new decade - may it be the best one yet! All my love,

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