Month: May 2016

Why You Need To Read A Book, Right Now…

 

13 books piled high and the birthday gift of a lifetime, The Series of Unfortunate Events was my new best friend and sent me into a reading frenzy. From there, I was hooked. Carrying the Twilight series around high school, friends calling them my ‘Bibles’, reading sent me into another world, into characters lives where their feelings became mine and their every thought and action, good or bad, agreeable with my personality or not, became something I understood and admired. I felt my vocabulary expanding. As a writer, I was inspired to write. I grew up a child and young adult who always took into consideration other people’s feelings and sought to understand their perspective and reasoning, something that I knew automatically was instilled in me from my continuous reading. Reading taught me to feel for others, to have a compassion and understanding for the world around me and people in it that the average person has, and I found this to be the same with other writers I met who also love to read. How can you be a writer at all if you don’t understand the deeper complexities of the world? No matter what a book may be about; historically telling the story of WWII, Slavery, or Elizabeth Bennet’s struggle with love, reading puts you in other peoples shoes in every aspect, developing analytical thinking.

This got me wondering… Reading has benefited many in this way tremendously (and I’m not just saying this… science proves that reading increases empathy and analyzation), and for this reason alone it should be practiced in every home, but what other benefits are there to reading?

Reading increases brain activity, and leads to increased intelligence. Furthering your vocabulary, writing skills, analyzation (as stated nearly a handful of times… it’s just so great!) and overall increasing your brains health.

Reading relieves stress and anxiety. If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed or not in control of your emotions, pick up a book. Reading takes your mind off the subject that calms down your emotions as you’re pulled into a different world.

Since it relieves stress, reading can also be a sleep aid. Finding a way to break stress and relax before bed is the perfect way to get a good night’s sleep and help the whole process go down a little more smoothly, for us whose minds tend to run a little extra as soon as we hit the pillow.

Reading also has many beneficial aspects to look forward to later in life, in the sense that it stimulates the brain and increases memory potential, easing off diseases like Alzheimer’s. The brain, as it’s used, is strengthened, just like many other parts of the body. In result, reading can decrease risk of many diseases we may obtain due to aging.

This mental stimulation of the brain that reading causes can also increase intelligence, as reading increases vocabulary and writing skills (as well as analyzation… just thought I’d throw that one in there one more time for you (; ). This includes creativity as well, something that many of us know tends to fade away as we age. “Our brains work similar to a sponge, they soak up every bit of knowledge we encounter and store it for future use,” (Torres, Uloop).

Now I understand also that many people say they don’t like reading, that they ‘can’t’, but if you find the right book, the story that intrigues you and pulls you in, then it’s just like a movie except with a deeper connection, a more enticing storyline. You can read about anything. I mean this literally. Your favorite instrument, band, sport, celebrity, your biggest passion; these all come in some form of book. Which is why it’s something that’s not hard to do and is beneficial in too many ways that there is no reason to not do it. Therefore, you need to go read a book, and you need to do it now.

A handful of my favorite books (incase you need some ideas):

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen – A difficult read, but gets better everytime you re-read it, and such a classic!

All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr – Written from two perspectives during WWII, a young blind girl living in France and a young German boy who’s highly intelligent. Nothing else to further say from there, it’s too amazing to not read, even for the ‘non-reader’.

The Nightingale, Kristin Hanna – Another historical fiction book written during WWII, from two perspectives: a rebellious teenage girl who joins a resistance and her very introverted older sister who always plays by the rules and has a Nazi billeting in her home. This was by far my favorite book I’ve ever read. Get past the first few chapters and the twists and turns are never ending. To say I cried is an understatement.

#GirlBoss, Sophia Amoruso – Everytime I read this I wanted to get up off the seat I was sitting in and do something productive. Need a sense of motivation and to be driven? This is the perfect book! Reading her story of going from nothing to everything in a matter of a few quick years, you might get a little bit of anxiety from the overwhelming urge to get up and make a difference. This is true life motivation for any and everyone.

Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline – Taking you back in time to an older woman’s childhood as an immigrant orphan and her scarring experiencing, she tells her story to a misguided teen who is looking for answers to find her way through life, as she herself finds out answers to some of her mysterious past.

 

 

Sources: http://csupomona.uloop.com/news/view.php/65205/the-benefits-of-reading-5-reasons-why-you-should-read-more-books

http://nyulocal.com/city/2013/10/28/escape-with-a-book-manhattans-hidden-reading-spots-photos/

Ettika X The Style Studies…

I’ve yet again received another amazing piece from Ettika! The handmade designer jewelry company constantly leaves me thinking far too often about jewelry and how I will incorporate it into my daily outfits. This gold ‘Million Miles Away’ long chain necklace was created for a collection in corporation with Nordstrom, and was my best friend these past few weekends, as I wore it for days around the city, nights out with friends and for my birthday dinner paired with this gorgeous dress!

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

It’s beautiful in a simple way, which is why it looks great with nearly every outfit! I loved wearing it with a white halter body suit, ripped jeans and a pair of nude heels. It made it glam easily and had me feeling incredibly chic. It ends just a bit past my belly button, which is perfect for a long necklace. It has a nice bohemian flow and isn’t overwhelmingly glitzy, and therefore can be either dressed up or down. The only negative about this piece is the small gem in the center piece doesn’t seem to be set in all the way; for the price of the piece I find that this is something a bit critical. It’s not something you want to see after spending $75 – not that all pieces will come this way, but mine did. It is very unnoticeable though, and is just me being a tad picky, mind it is my job to give you the most honest review!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Overall, regardless of the minimal flaw, the piece is beautiful, effortless and timeless. Like I said, it can be worn with just about anything (as I say this I’m wearing it with a pair of black leggings and khaki tunic (; ) and it has become a critical piece to my wardrobe!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

See more bohemian, handmade jewelry from Ettika and get 15% off your order –> here. See more of their pieces in collab with Nordstrom at the Nordstrom Website http://www.Nordstrom.com

 

Billboard Music Awards Red Carpet Looks…

Celebrities wandered through the Billboard Music Awards ‘pink’ carpet in Las Vegas this past Sunday, and this years trend of glitz, skin and thigh high heels is still traveling on. The night was hosted by Ciara who in a matter of three hours, wore seven different outfits and looked unbelievable in every single one. So to start off the list of my best and worst dressed of the night…

billboard-music-awards-red-carpet-dresses-2016

Ciara in Philipp Plein – Clearly winning at everything, including Best Side-Boob Award.

 

demi-lovato

Demi Lovato in Chanel – She’s always pulling off amazing looks that aren’t your typical carpet gowns. Go Demi!

 

zendaya

Zendaya in Calvin Klein – Can I just mention her brows? *faints*

 

halsey

Halsey in Fausto Puglisi – I love the off-beat unique-ness of this dress with the change in shoulder straps and array of jeweled designs, and she rocks it!

 

kelly-rowland

Kelly Rowland in Labourjoisie – Making a debut in the sheer, sequined department, the trends getting a bit old but it’s still stunning and everyone looks so good in it, including her.

 

mila-kunis

Mila Kunis in Zuhair Murad – Looking like such an adorable gem!

 

jessica-alba

Jessica Alba also in Zuhair Murad and Stuart Weitzman – (Zuhair Murad is killing it, incase you couldn’t tell)

 

kesha

Kesha in Gucci – The star typically struts carpets in the most unique of ensembles and she addressed Sunday nights appearance with the same memo, and looks amazing! That fringe – killer. Lets not forget the Gucci shoes *swoon*.

 

lucy-hale

Lucy Hale in Zuhair Murad – Damn, Murad really is killing it (talk about the understatement of the week). Going to make a mural in his honor next to my bed as we speak.

 

 

Now getting to the looks I didn’t quite prefer…

rihanna

Rihanna in vintage Thierry Mugler – I’m sorry, but I was greatly disappointed by this and had to add it in here due to the fact of my disappointment. Rihanna, who is always turning heads at every event for her style choices looked somewhat like a medieval grandma this past weekend, in the most beautiful way, but regardless…

 

britney-spears

Britney Spears in Reem Acra and Schutz heels – Yes, she’s totally killing it at 34, but this was just not flattering on her at all. She already has short, muscular legs, and the thigh high heels just make her look shorter and stockier. Kudos to her though, for still being the total babe she was in her younger years, now.

 

kathryn-hahn

Kathryn Hahn in Altuzarra  – This is not at all flattering to her body shape. Not only that, but the abrupt change in design/fabric (looks somewhat like a top and a skirt together) has a strange shape that’s lacking some flow. This could be amazing, just not on her.

 

 

Sources: http://www.popsugar.com/fashion/Billboard-Music-Awards-Red-Carpet-Dresses-2016-41364894#photo-41407729

Sultry Monday…

I went a little wild with the inspo’ for this Sultry Monday, but there was so much to be inspired by and I was on a role (; Simple, casual chic is still the current vibe and artsy, vintage, unique attitude.

 

Blue Summer…

 

 

 


Dress: Missguided

Shoes: Aldo

I instantly fell in love with this Missguided dress while shopping for a birthday outfit. The chic elegance of it was perfect  for celebrating in style and it’s of course, my favorite color. Upon receiving it I was skeptical of how it would look on me, since baggy shift dresses don’t suite my fuller hip body type, but it was so beautiful I though for sure it would be the exception… Yet it wasn’t. Therefore I will return/use the dress for a project, but I figured I would share it with all of you anyway, because regardless of its fit on me, it is still incredibly beautiful! The effortless swing and elegant length and touch of silk showing from underneath really makes this great for a nice dinner, a daytime party, or nearly any nice summer occasion.  Since moving to our new house, I’ve had a hard time finding a suitable spot to take pictures, so with much urgency this white door will have to do for now 🙂 .

It’s Okay to Have Half-Assed Friends…

It wasn’t until this past weekend visiting home that I realized and understood what a good friend really is. I was dreading the thought of it – being home without a car, staying at my Grandmothers depressing house, having nowhere to even go! I knew the general routine – I spent time with my family and that was that. Rarely did I go home and spend any time with friends from home. It had gotten to the point that they have gone on with their lives without me. Yeah, we still kept in touch and were the same good pals we always were when we did hang out, but my effort was the only one that was present. Relentless texts and calls, to the point my brother snapped, “Are you kidding me? No, do not text her again. Why do you even try,” with a sassy ‘ugh’ and an eye roll. I realized then that I was just making a fool of myself. So, this weekend in particular, I made it clear in advanced that I would be home for the weekend. I wasn’t expecting them to drop their plans at my beck and call because I just so happened to be in town. Yet as predicted, they never called. But it was this visit home in particular that I truly felt I needed them, their comfort, the distraction. And still, nothing.

I had arranged a ride from the airport from a very close family friend who I have known for years, mainly for being best friends with my older brother, but had grown closer to me in the past year or so. She was there to get me, and how grateful I felt. I was intent on expressing my gratitude and desire to spend the day together after I got in, and we did just that. We had spoken briefly of spending some time the next day together as well, but I knew how that went. People have lives, they’re not always there to spend time with me when I need to. Life doesn’t stop for me, nor did I expect it to. It was destined to not happen. And yet it did. She was my mediator for an awkward brunch, my reliable driver and laughter for long car rides to visit my brother, my puppy cuddling, relationship gossiper for the rainy afternoon and she even chose dinner with me over it with her boyfriend. It was all so nonchalant, so natural, so easy. I went away, back to my second home, content and looking happily on the weekends visit – something I didn’t think I would feel. It was then that I realized good friends do exist, and after twenty-one years, I finally had one.

I’m a hopeless romantic, which means I’m an over-emotional, over-caring love giver in all types of relationships I get myself into, and it has always been hard to remember that not everyone is as caring and loving as I am. I would drop anything and everything for someone I care about, and never felt like anyone ever did the same in return, but that’s just who I am. Through much stress and frustration, it is not till this very day that for the first time I’m really starting to understand friendships, on a level I never thought possible, which is why I share this with you…

IT’S OKAY TO HAVE HALF-ASS FRIENDS. Lots of people half-ass their entire lives. Yeah, no, this is no excuse and doesn’t mean it’s okay to have bad friends, but it takes a lot of understanding to realize that even some of the half-ass ones are good friends.

A good friend is a different definition for everyone, but we all know the basic rules and that it takes caring and loving. It takes being there for that person when it really counts; maybe not for all of the weekend visits or random phone calls but when when they miss your birthday two times in a row, thats a deal breaker. When you need a shoulder and they’re never there, deal breaker. When you’re the one waiting all day to spend time with them and cancel all other plans and they go hang with other friends instead, deal breaker (yup, I’ve had to learn the hard way). These are pretty understandable things, but its tough realizing that not all people are going to be as caring as some, and they really just can’t. For many, it’s not in their genes. Not everyone is equal amounts of caring or giving or appreciative or reliable. And it’s not true, that ‘if they’re a real friend, if you really connect and bond and are soul mates, they will be the most caring and loving no matter what’ (this goes for relationships too). Its not like the movies for every person. It’s not all thoughtfulness and love and caring. they may not go to extremes for you like what you would do for them. It’s not taking it personally and understanding that that’s just who they are. It doesn’t mean that they’re not good friends, they may love you unconditionally, be there for you when it counts, and love you just as much as you love them, but don’t have the same level of understanding and ideals in terms of commitment and care that you do. But what makes people best friends are the ones who connects with you because you share the same level of understanding and desire in terms of being a good friend; they would do the same for you that you would do for them.

I’ve had a lot of half-assed friends. They most likely don’t see it as being half-assed, but i do just because I’m the type of person who gives it my everything, and it took my a long time to understand that IT’S OKAY, they’re still GOOD FRIENDS, they’re just not the same type of person I am. Any type of relationship requires balance and having needs fulfilled to make them flourish, but some people will never meet your needs and you either have to accept that they aren’t that type of person and love them anyway, or move on. Maybe you’re not the type to give it you’re all and wear your heart on your sleeve but you need a friend who is, and vice versa. It’s understanding the type of person you are, understanding the type of people you’re dealing with and what will come from the relationship, realizing what you need and accepting what you can’t have and loving them anyway. Man, life’s complicated, as are you and everyone else, and we’re all just trying to figure each other out, one step at a time. We’re all unique in our own way and it’s understanding peoples individualities that make it all so interesting. Therefore, always remember, everyone’s different, and it’s okay.

The City of Freedom…

There comes a day in our lives where we meet that special something that holds a place in our hearts, and with every meeting it never fails to warm it; That special something that influences our souls to flourish, to express itself in its most natural, unique state. That is the epitome of New York City.

Standing on Fashion Ave, after getting off my bus and arriving into the city, I’m standing waiting for a friend. Not a person doesn’t go by that my eyes don’t wander to. A woman with thick chunky platform shoes and hair cut to her jawline, the face of Vogue. A few friends walking the streets, dresses and skirts swinging so casually, yet anywhere other than the city that would be style for a special occasion. Headphones and leather biker jackets with literally just about everything. Even the athletic jocks and gym-goers look stylish in the city.

The embodiment of NYC street style is being oddly strange in the most normal way. Whatever it is that makes you your quirkiest and most offbeat self is suitable for NYC lifestyle. Not being average is the norm. I’m walking through the streets of Soho and strut past a shop with sunglasses displayed in the window, a pair with kaleidoscope lenses is shining in the sun, front and center, calling my name. Suddenly, I seriously consider buying them. They’re incredibly awesome and so unique! And then I remembered last Spring I was in New York, when I bought large, square framed pastel-pink sunglasses that were chic and acceptable in the city but could never be worn again in Virginia. Or the hippie, ripped, patched vintage jeans I bought in the city a year before that and only wore nearly a handful of times… The city brings out the inner extraordinary, unique parts of your soul and accentuate them.

For my first night out in the city I realized how true Sex in the City really is… Everyone’s single or pretends to be. Everyone is out clubbing till four in the morning. And while this may not be the typical weekend lifestyle for everyone, it’s beautiful in a most extraordinary way. No one cares if you’re out every weekend or you’re not. No ones cares about the standard rules and regulations of life; go to college, get married, get a job, have kids.They just live and don’t judge. Not a single New Yorker asked me if I had a degree, if I had my own place, they simply ask, “what do you do? Where are you from?” And talk about life and love and experiences.

Not everyone loves the city like I do. I’ve come to find there’s a true love-hate relationship for it, and most people I know hate it. But no matter your love, or lack thereof, for the smells of the subways or the business of the streets, there’s something to take from the city, and it’s a sense of freedom. The freedom to be completely yourself and not be judged, to wear what you want when you want to, to take whatever life path you want and not be judged. I met many adults who were writers, stylists, nannies. A New Yorker friend said to me, “No one I know has a proper job anymore. It’s so weird now. You can be Blac Chyna and make a bank… I know many people who don’t use their degree, myself included. Waste of money.” I even met transgender Mono, who was his born male, and was male by week, and a ‘drag’ female on the weekends. No matter their sexual orientation, outfit, or career path, New Yorkers didn’t care. I find that outside of the city, in many other states around the U.S., that that’s not the case. Here in Northern Virginia, and other places I’ve lived in, everyone has the same basic life map; college, marriage, kids, a perfect house and a 9-5 job. That is what’s expected. That’s what is strived for, nor is that wrong, but if it’s not what you strive for or where you’re heading, a filter of judgment is passed over you. That’s everything that’s wrong with a lot of society, everything that’s right about the city and exactly my point. New York City is the city of dreams, whether you like it, don’t, or have never been, everything you can take from it, and this, should be applied to your daily life whether you’re in the country, city, or a suburban town. Be the quirkiest you, embrace your personality, your opinions, your taste. Who cares what anyone thinks, if it’s what everyone else is doing or it isn’t, it’s what you want, what makes you happy, so embrace it and live every day like this life is yours to take.