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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Feel the Wind


Yesterday I was walking with sweet Sophia through the park. The wind was blowing harder than usual so we zipped up our jackets, linked our hands, and braced the breeze together.

She would feel the wind, close her eyes, and ask me, “do you hear that?” We kept walking and she would say, “can we find it?”
I told her in the simplest of terms how sometimes we hear something but can’t see it, or feel something and can’t see it. She would point to things and ask if that’s where it was coming from.
A shiny ball. A tired swing. A squeaky door.

I told her that we don’t always get to know where a feeling comes from, but we can try and figure it out. I explained that the wind works with the trees, so we could see them moving and know it’s there. Or the squeaky door that rocked on its hinges, the wind was pushing it that way.

It blows my mind that life’s biggest lessons are delivered in things like wind. Or  from the mouth of a very smart 2-year-old.
The whole walk she continued to close her eyes, and feel the wind. I put her back in her stroller, and her little legs dangled, and she was singing softly and the wind kept stirring, and I just thought about how incredible everything was. The things I had the most faith in, I would not see. But I could see them working in beautiful ways through tangible elements in my life.

Sophia fell asleep mid-way eating an apple so I walked for an extra hour, knowing that it was probably a combination of the wind, the cool air, and the sound of the birds that were keeping her drowsy.

I thought about how many things I feel and believe in. I thought about how incredible it was that Sophia was already learning faith. That she was teaching me faith.
I’ve been worried about things lately, and I constantly need to see the end to know that I should keep walking the path I am on. I need to see where all this work, these prayers, positive thoughts are going. I need it constantly.

But saying to Sophia that there are things we can feel and never see and hear reminded me that I am living for something bigger and greater than myself.
That even though I can’t see the next few steps, or even how I am going to get there, I know I eventually will. I know I just have to keep walking.

Sophia eventually woke up and turned her head towards the sky and I snapped this photo. Of her feeling the wind and not knowing where it was, or what it looked like, but appreciating it nonetheless.
That is what life is. Knowing that sometimes we don’t get an answer but just a moment. To marvel, appreciate, wonder, love, and believe.

Wishing you all a beautiful Sunday. Xo
I was listening to The Paper Kites on my walk, here are two songs that are my absolute favorites:
Bloom
St. Clarity

Link up with Emily for Grateful Heart Monday this week, hop on over to embergrey.com.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Q&A with Shantel Gauna

A few months ago I came to Shantel with some pretty tortured hair (understatement). It was broken, had about fifty shades of color, and an uneven cut.


She transformed my hair, (seriously I am obsessed with it), but she also provided me with the tools to get the styles I love, teaching me about the process of my hair with each appointment, and taking her time to make sure I adored my 'do.

 
Beyond the salon and the glitz and glam, Shantel has the most caring heart and is the hardest worker. Working long days and jet setting, you would expect an exhausted, less enthusiastic person, but Shantel shines at all times. Every time I go into the salon, I leave inspired.

She is beautiful inside and out, incredibly smart and kind, and makes me feel like my best self.

Today, she is sharing part of what drives her in the industry, favorite products and more.

Read along, and follow Shantel on her Instagram for up to date posts about hair and beauty.


 

what is the most rewarding part of your job?
 
There are so many perks! I love building strong relationships and connecting with so many different people from around the world. Making a difference on how people view themselves just by changing their hair, then educating them on how to create professional salon styles easily at home! I also really LOVE being involved in editorial, multimedia, and fashion! It's so fast paced, you get lost in it, it's like a dream. 


what would you say to people hoping to be successful in the hair and beauty industry?
 
My biggest advice would be to say YES to every opportunity that comes your way. Stay hungry and surround yourself with people that inspire you and push you to be better.

what would be your dream job outside of your current industry?

Honestly? I could never see myself doing anything else. I am absolutely in love with this industry and I am really living my dream! 

what is your personal philosophy that you live by?

Never let the sparkle die! Stay inspired, excited, grateful, humble, and HUNGRY. 

what has been your greatest accomplishment so far?

Aside from the celebrity clientele I started to build as a colorist, Being able to travel the world, being on stage doing hair for Paul Mitchell hairshows, one of my greatest is landing my dream in one of Las Vegas' most prestigious salons, Platinum Entourage, and running my own successful business with a 5 week wait list under the age of 25. 


whose hair would you love to do?

That's a hard one! I have to pick a top three! Madonna, a Kardashian, and Will Farrell.


what don’t a lot of people know about you?

Outside the business world many people don't know that I pray a lot and I owe all of my success to God.

Favorite products:

Face: Kiehls Vitamin C Serum, Mac Soft and Gentle highlighter, Anastasiaseyebrow kit, lots of lashes!

Hair: Paul Mitchell Extra Body Root Boost, Moroccan Oil, Pureology Hydrate shampoo and conditioner, and Kenra Blow dry spray is everything!

Body: H2O sea salt body scrub, Bio Oil, Aveeno daily moisturizer. I also can't live without flowerbomb perfume.

What are the biggest mistakes people make with their hair?

Box coloring their hair! 

What is your ultimate beauty secret?

Hair skin and nail vitamins, lots of water, splurge on a really nice face cream!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

I’ve been reading so much lately. I think it’s because I let go of the expectation that I MUST read a book beginning to end, or only read one thing at a time. Instead, I read parts of books, long articles, biographies, recipes, poems. Works that I can spend a few minutes or a few hours with. I am going to start posting more of what I am reading, including excerpts.
A professor told me about this book, The Opposite of Loneliness, and sent me some background info.
The author, Marina Keegan, died in a car crash at 22 years old just days after graduating from Yale. She had a job lined up at the New Yorker. A bright future. A clearly a heart so full of love and appreciation for the world.
The book is a collection of stories and essays she wrote mainly while at Yale.
There are people we admire the work of after the pass away, and only then do we take the time to treasure their talent. Marina’s work is beautiful, thought provoking, and made a difference long before she left the world.
I am in awe of the way she can accurately describe feelings we have all felt.
I get emotional each time I read this excerpt. She was so young, but more than that so hopeful, so encouraging, and so right. She writes in a poem in the book:
“Do you wanna leave soon?
No, I want enough time to be in love with everything...
And I cry because everything is so beautiful and so short.”
Here is an excerpt from her book, The Opposite of Loneliness. *grab tissues now*
“We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life. What I’m grateful and thankful to have found at Yale, and what I’m scared of losing when we wake up tomorrow after Commencement and leave this place.
It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team. When the check is paid and you stay at the table. When it’s four A .M. and no one goes to bed. That night with the guitar. That night we can’t remember. That time we did, we went, we saw, we laughed, we felt. The hats.
Yale is full of tiny circles we pull around ourselves. A cap- pella groups, sports teams, houses, societies, clubs. These tiny groups that make us feel loved and safe and part of something even on our loneliest nights when we stumble home to our computers—partnerless, tired, awake. We won’t have those next year. We won’t live on the same block as all our friends. We won’t have a bunch of group texts. This scares me. More than finding the right job or city or spouse, I’m scared of losing this web we’re in. This elusive, inde- finable, opposite of loneliness. This feeling I feel right now.
But let us get one thing straight: the best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us and they are set for rep- etition as we grow up and move to New York and away from New York and wish we did or didn’t live in New York. I plan on having parties when I’m thirty. I plan on having fun when I’m old. Any notion of THE BEST years comes from clich├ęd “should have . . . ,” “if I’d . . . ,” “wish I’d . . .”
Of course, there are things we wish we’d done: our read- ings, that boy across the hall. We’re our own hardest critics and it’s easy to let ourselves down. Sleeping too late. Procrastinating. Cutting corners. More than once I’ve looked back on my high school self and thought: how did I do that? How did I work so hard? Our private insecurities follow us and will always follow us.
But the thing is, we’re all like that. Nobody wakes up when they want to. Nobody did all of their reading (except maybe the crazy people who win the prizes . . .). We have these impossibly high standards and we’ll probably never live up to our perfect fantasies of our future selves. But I feel like that’s okay.
We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There’s this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious as we lie alone after a party, or pack up our books when we give in and go out— that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it’s too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement.
When we came to Yale, there was this sense of possibility. This immense and indefinable potential energy—and it’s easy to feel like that’s slipped away. We never had to choose and suddenly we’ve had to. Some of us have focused ourselves. Some of us know exactly what we want and are on the path to get it: already going to med school, working at the perfect NGO, doing research. To you I say both congratulations and you suck.
For most of us, however, we’re somewhat lost in this sea of liberal arts. Not quite sure what road we’re on and whether we should have taken it. If only I had majored in biology . . . if only I’d gotten involved in journalism as a freshman . . . if only I’d thought to apply for this or for that . . .
What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating from college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.
In the heart of a winter Friday night my freshman year, I was dazed and confused when I got a call from my friends to meet them at Est Est Est. Dazedly and confusedly, I began trudging to SSS,* probably the point on campus farthest away. Remarkably, it wasn’t until I arrived at the door that I questioned how and why exactly my friends were partying in Yale’s administrative building. Of course, they weren’t. But it was cold and my ID somehow worked so I went inside SSS to pull out my phone. It was quiet, the old wood creaking and the snow barely visible outside the stained glass. And I sat down. And I looked up. At this giant room I was in. At this place where thousands of people had sat before me. And alone, at night, in the middle of a New Haven storm, I felt so remarkably, unbelievably safe.
We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I’d say that’s how I feel at Yale. How I feel right now. Here. With all of you. In love, impressed, humbled, scared. And we don’t have to lose that.
We’re in this together, 2012. Let’s make something happen to this world.”
You can read more about Marina Keegan, here and here, and order her book here.

Monday, April 6, 2015

If I could tell you one thing

This post was shared two months ago on my friend Taylor's blog and if you missed it, I'm sharing it on my blog today.




If I could tell you one thing...

On Thursday, I sat in my Creative Writing class, eager to get started, just waiting for my professor to say what our assignment would be.

School is hard, I've been going through a particularly difficult season lately, and I find myself constantly holding on to tiny moments of light.

My creative writing class being ones of those bright, beaming moments.

My professor began to tell us about our free write for the day: What is the most important moment in a child's life?

You could run with this in one hundred directions. So I found myself racking my brain, "Can I write about any child? Should I recount my childhood? Maybe I should write this for my future daughter or son? What do I remember as a huge moment of my childhood life?"

We've got ten minutes for the prompt. Nine minutes left after I begin to think about what direction to go in. I panic, naturally. How does one write something decent in eight minutes and 44, 43, 42 seconds?

Write your truth. The thought came in a soft but strong whisper.

So I did.

____________________________________________________________

Free Write #4

For the child yet to grow big and tall, for the child being wished for & prayed for, yet to be in a mommy's tummy, for the child that is already having a difficult time navigating the world, and for the child that still shines brightly in all of us, this is for you. 


If I could tell you one thing, there are going to be many important moments in your life. There's going to be a time when you discover how to walk, talk, run, and ride a bike. You're going to have a time where you love so wildly, and your heart pitter patters when you have your first crush. There is going to be a time where you feel a little embarrassed, and when you are mad at someone who cares for you. I hope you don't have too many moments of sadness of defeat. And if you do, I hope you have double the amount of moments that bring you happiness and laughter.

You are going to have moments that reveal your passion. You are going to have a favorite food, favorite friend, favorite book, favorite time of day.

You are going to have lots of moments, but I know the most important one, for me at least, is the moment you realize that loving yourself is essential to really loving and appreciating all of life's other moments.

Loving yourself, and realizing you are a gifted individual that adorns that world, is the most important moment.

The moment you stop allowing yourself to nitpick over flaws, or wish you had a different nose, mouth, hip size, hair color. The moment you notice the way your eyes sparkle, or that no one else will ever be like you. The moment you realize the entire world and everyone you have ever interacted with would not be the same without you.

That moment may seem fleeting at times, and there may be hours and days that you don't feel so in love with yourself, but I can promise you: this body, this mind, this heart of yours needs to run on self-love. You deserve to love yourself.

As children, we are too often judged on standards that are set for everyone. We are too often told that talent, smarts, and ability is based on a one size fits all scale.

The moment you love yourself, you love the fact that you could never really play basketball but could write poetry, or could barely handle public speaking but could handle calculus. For me, loving myself meant I finally accepted that I would never be the girl that could stay still, or not question, or make it through a day without reading and writing something.

If I would have known that the only thing that would bring me to a place of forgiveness, adventure, new opportunities, and acceptance was self-love, I would have granted myself that moment long ago.

That moment is now.



Take time to stop by Emily's blog, Ember Grey, and share what you are grateful for this week.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

LA Adventures & Photos

 




To celebrate spring break, my friend Ariana and I travelled to California for some beach therapy, a spa day, and some LA shopping.

 
Two days was just enough to recharge and remind myself that school is nearing the end. I just needed to feel some sand and hear some waves to remember that.

We left early Monday morning, jammed out to Avril Lavinge on the drive there, and made it with enough time to get a yummy lunch and hit the beach before our spa day. 

I am not a great traveller, I overpack (seriously, I brought five outfits), and I worry about forgetting things like a toothbrush, shampoo, etc. But this time I took a deep breath and just enjoyed it all. Getting lost? No big deal. LA traffic that leaves you stuck at the same green light for several minutes? Whatever. No toothbrush? Well, that's one that I had to solve, first by using the good old finger brush and then actually getting a toothbrush in the morning. 

I didn't take as many photos as I typically take on a vacation, so here are just a few. I did find a few awesome places and tricks along the way that I want to share with all of you.


I am currently obsessed with tee-shirt dresses, this one is less than ten bucks at H&M



 

Number 1: Waze driving app. This app is seriously amazing. It avoids toll roads, traffic, car accidents, and even lets you know when cops are approaching. 

Number 2: Burke Williams Day Spa. Ahhhh-mazing. I still feel like I am floating on a little cloud made of steam rooms and delicious orange-enhanced lemonade. The employees at the spa are so wonderful and helpful, there are several jacuzzis, hot and cold steam room, sauna, a solarium reading and relaxing area and more. It is also a ten minute walk from the beach, and surrounded by great shops and trendy restaurants. 

Number 3: LACMA. Those beautiful lights made me cry. I think it was a mix of things but I just kept thinking how incredible it is that in a second things can go from dark to light. And we are all just looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. We are all just hoping to be the light, to carry it and share it.  People literally gather under these lamp posts, just plain lamp posts, cluttered in one area. It's a beautiful, unifying experience.


 
 
 
 
 

Number 4: The Grove. Great shopping, great food, and there is a Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt and a Sprinkes Cupcake so basically I would move in. If you're not into delicious desserts, there is also an amazing Topshop, Zara, a three-story Barnes and Noble, MAC, Madewell and more. Sidenote- Lauren Conrad was there on Valentine's Day which is a big deal for someone like me  who religiously follow LC's life. 

Number 5: Food. Tender Greens and Eat Well were two of our food stops and they were delicious and healthy options. I try to avoid fast food at all costs, but also hate spending $20 or more on a meal. These places were both under $12 and really good.

Eat Well

Tender Greens

 

Number 6: Hotel Angelino. These hotel is in the center of LA, easy to find, offers free parking, and a stunning view of the skyline. We checked in late, and Eric at the front desk (shoutout-he was a sweetheart), gave us an upgraded suite room, with TWO balconies, a living room, a huge bedroom, and a view to die for. 

 
 
Number 7: Brandy Melville. We don't have one in Las Vegas, and this store is one of my obsessions. Everything is SO soft, in neutral colors, which I love. I got this shirt for $26, which is like, 9 coffees at Starbucks but totally worth it.
 



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