advice, pearls of wisdom, quotes

the rose is a rose

These days, I don’t wear much else than some kind of a high-waist pant, tank, and blazer combo because well, hello corporate. If I’m feeling particularly fussy, I’ll even go for a pretty dress. Can I be bothered? More importantly, did I shave?

There’s comfort to having a uniform (I’ve written about it countless times before). It’s steady, it’s reliable, it’s effortless. Kind of like your high school sweetheart best girlfriends: always there for you no matter what, never failing to make you feel your best. And yet I can’t help but feel as if I’ve fallen into a rut. My wardrobe isn’t to blame — though it wouldn’t mind an upgrade or two — but it’s the easiest to scapegoat. Truth is, I’ve been in a creative void as of late, and neither a bright new lipstick nor a brand new bag could fix it.

In an attempt to regain inspiration, I’ve been trying to start my day with a quick morning read. Paulo Coelho’s blog is a long-time favorite for something beautiful or enlightening. An older post caught my eye and couldn’t have come at a better time; Coelho quotes author W. Timothy Gallwey:

“When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice that it is small, but we do not criticize it as ‘rootless and stemless.’ We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed.

When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don’t condemn it as immature and underdeveloped; nor do we criticize the buds for not being open when they appear. We stand in wonder at the process taking place and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development.

The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change; yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.

A note to self, and one to you, too: treat yourself as you would your best friend. You may hate her weekly marathon of Nicholas Spark films, or find her inability to make a decision incredibly irritating, but in the end, you still love her and forgive her for all her faults.

Give yourself the same courtesy, too.

.   .   .

x

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girl talk, kim's diary, maintenant, pearls of wisdom, thoughts, yours truly

kim’s diary: wisdom comes with age (so they say)

I’ve been doing a lot of growing up this past year (we’re well into 2014, can you believe it?). Graduation was just two weeks ago, I’ve just started a full-time career, I pay credit card bills, I’m in a relationship (not that having a boyfriend is any testament to womanhood), I’ve finally learned the beauty of not washing my hair everyday. I once scoffed at those who went one, two, three days sans shampoo. (I draw the line at two.) Now I revel in their gumption; dirty hair is the best hair — not to mention, good for hair health, too.

So wisdom does come with age.

Ever realize how our beautiful grandmas love their bright pink sweaters and baby blue eyeshadows? Partly to blame is the 80s imprinting an indefinite impression during their “glory years,” but I’d like to think it’s largely due to the fact that old people just don’t give a shit and do whatever they want. Who cares? Who has the right to say anything? Our grannies have earned their bones and wear their colors with pride. Chartreuse? Fuchsia? Together? Bring it. There are no rules when you’re old (and if there are, they’re either self-imposed or something to do with Medicare/Medicaid): there’s no playing into gender rules, there’s no pressure of sexuality, there are no dress codes from stern schools or even sterner HR ladies.

I’m not that adventurous yet. Heck, I’m still trying to remind myself that I’m only 22 (and not already 22, as I’m prone to think) and have all the time the world’s willing to give me to get old. Trust — I’m looking forward to the day I wear head to toe pink or paisley and do so without a care in the world. But until then, I’m fine with taking it one step at a time.

After all, I’ve only just gotten over the concept of second-day hair. (Thank goodness for dry shampoo.)

.   .   .

xx

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advice, beauty, girl talk, life, love, pearls of wisdom, philosophy, thoughts, yours truly

21 things i learned by 21

Twenty-one is supposed to be some landmark year for us Americans: it’s supposed to be crazy — like Eurotrip-meets-Vegas crazy — and unforgettable — but only to be completely forgotten because you’ve had one too many tequila shots the night before. Call me jaded, but it seemed like a horrible way to spend a milestone.

Almost one year later and I haven’t a single regret about skipping out on this supposed rite of passage. It’s already been a year. Three-hundred sixty-five days, marked by a few downs, a steady stream of ups, and a pounding desire to just keeping going forward. Ah, the sweet sound of 22, and in just a few days too…

But one last look before I never turn back again, because 21 has been one of the best years yet: I’ve not only experienced the most, but learned so much, too:

1. Moisturizer and a good lash curler are all a girl really needs. Re: how to look beautiful in a heartbeat.

2. Water is the cure-all.

3. You’ll always be more critical about yourself than everyone else.

4. Say yes more.

5. … but also exercise the right to say no.

6. Finding the perfect pair of jeans requires patience and persistence. It’s trying at times (okay, all the time), but once you find the perfect fit, life’s all fairy tales and rainbows. It’s life-changing. I’ll be the first to admit that those moments in the changing rooms are incredibly frustrating and brutal on ego/self-confidence, but when you find the one, you find the one.

7. Strapless bras are the bane of my existence. Strapless necklines also don’t work with my shape. They don’t work. Period. I’ve learned my lesson.

9. Beauty sleep is called beauty sleep for a reason. I was all, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead!” for the longest time. I still am – habits die hard – but do as I say and not as I do. Sleep is vital to your overall physical, emotional and mental health. A few days of insomnia are okay, but night prowling for months at a time? I feel it. My body feels it, my skin feels it, and my mind suffers for it.

9. Writing everyday makes me happy.

10. Do what you love, and love what you do; lack of passion is fatal. You can tell me I’m young and naive because I’m 21, but I can turn around and tell you this: so long as you have one, consistent thing to fall back to when you need it most, you can get through anything. Luckily I love what I do, but if your day job isn’t your dream, take something up on the side that will make you feel alive until you’re ready to take a chance to pursue something different. I’m not sure I’d be as happy as I am now if I didn’t have dance in my life.

11. Don’t be afraid of a bold lipstick. Part of the reason why I’ve always had a minimalist beauty philosophy – apart from sheer laziness – is because I’d rather not have something superficial outshine who I am or even at a shallower level, what I really look like. I sort of have this irrational fear that if I dress too wild or wear blaring makeup, it’ll get in the way of someone paying attention to who I really am. Here’s the thing: bold is okay from time to time. Sometimes I want to be the girl with the red lipstick. I like who she is and how she gets people staring.

12. It’s okay to slack off. Actually, it’s healthy to. I’m a workaholic by nature who needs to learn to relax. Chill out. Breathe for a moment.

13. Friends are the family you choose. And the five you associate with the most are a direct reflection of who you are. Friends are everything.

14. Self-respect is paramount. Without it, you’re nothing. That’s it.

15. And on that note, respect is everything. I will always choose respect over love, because without respect, there is no such thing as a lasting or true love (both platonic and romantic).

16. Travel. Ideally, I’d love to leave my mark around the world, and do it on my own (or with one other person max). But there’s adventure everywhere in the next town over, another city…

17. Speak your intention.

18. I don’t have to justify anything to anyone. Why I love something, why I bought something, why I’m in a relationship with someone, etc. is my conscious decision. It’s not to say that outside opinion isn’t important — it is — but I’ve learned to accept that how I feel is of utmost importance.

19. It’s okay to not be good at everything right away. I’m still working on this one: I always have to remind myself that I don’t have to be perfect at something to do it, nor do I have to be perfect at something to love it. All good things take time — there’s a beauty in that.

20. Think less, feel more. It’s taken a while, and it’s still in working progress. But once you let the guards down and the walls fall, once you abandon preconceptions of what you’re supposed to do or be like, things — people, opportunities, etc. — literally come knocking at the door. It’s a beautiful thing allow yourself to be open.

21. Every year gets better and better.

I can’t wait for 22.

.   .   .

xx

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advice, girl talk, love, pearls of wisdom

on love + valentine’s day

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I don’t claim to be an expert on love and relationships; in fact, I barely know a thing about it. Scratch that: I don’t know a thing about it, except that it’s a word — a pretty loaded one at that — that the Oxford dictionary defines as “an intense feeling of deep affection,” and one that I use only in the context of my family, my best friends, and beautiful things. I love a lot, and my life is defined by the people and things I love — and yet, I don’t know a thing about it.

What I do know, however, is that there’s all kind of love. Love of things, love for humankind; love for a lover, love of a brother; love for your dad, love for your mom; and the most underrated of all, love of and for yourself. I’d go so far as to say that it’s the hardest kind of love — self-love — because it requires more than just giving. 

You have to accept, too.

I’m not sure why it’s so much harder to accept yourself wholeheartedly than it is someone else. Is it innate — a means of survival, because if you’re not tough on yourself, life can overwhelm you — or is it conditioned? You’d think that in a world where #selfies are the new portrait, which empowers the individual to show others how he/she sees himself/herself (versus how someone else sees them), that we as generation would be more open to the idea of self-love and acceptance. (The sentiment is there, but if anything, it’s only perpetuated creation of a separate self — rather than who we truly are and wish to be — that falls under normal or “liked” by societal standards and narcissism.) Self-love is more complicated, more difficult than it’s ever been.

Without it, there’s no real foundation for a relationship with anyone else — family, friend, lover — because how can we be ourselves, and give 100%, when we don’t even know how to do that for ourselves? The beauty of being single is in having all the time in the world, sans distractions, to work on yourself. I truly believe that people will come when each of you are ready to give to one another, and that if you rush the process before it’s meant to be, unhappiness is inevitable.

Singledom isn’t a reflection of your desirability; whether or not you realize it at the time, it’s a declaration of independence and self-discovery.

And if it takes some amount of faking it ’til you make it in the self-love department, so be it then. It’s cliche, but it’s cliche for a reason: it works. Spend time not alone, but on a date with yourself; when you’re left with your own thoughts, you’re given the opportunity to explore who you are and could be. Treat yourself, because like L’Oreal loves to say, you’re worth it. You are! Who better to indulge than you? Why not look beautiful, or wear something extravagant, or do something you’ve always wanted to do? Making the effort to do something for you is the first step in reshaping your mentality and persepctive of self. Make it a habit and you start to believe it: hey, I really am worth it.

Once you see it, so will everyone else.

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”

– John Lennon

Happy Valentine’s Day.

.   .   .

xx

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